Life ISN’T a Box of Chocolates . . .


Sometimes I lie awake at night, and ask, “Why me?” Then a voice answers, “Nothing personal . . . your name just happened to come up.”     Charlie Brown

Life just IS. At times, it can be sweet, surprising (the good kind) and rewarding. Other times, the sucky ones, we get gobsmacked with bitter taste or whopping sick from that 365 variety box of life. Unfortunately, it’s those we remember most. Yet, somehow, we still keep reaching for the next piece — and the next, always hoping for the one with the cherry surprise.

When we get married, we want the whole damn gift-wrapped box of chocolate – every sweet bite we can stuff in our faces. Sometimes, we could nearly eat our way through the whole box before finding the one we THOUGHT was gooey cream actually has the hard, chewy filling. And that one leaves a rotten aftertaste (or a broken crown!)

We got that hard, jaw-breaking piece before the wedding. A cancer diagnosis does that. Optimistic as always, we still decided to go for it, with the unreasonable trust of children. Some would call it naivete or supreme optimism. We just called it love.

Through the years, among the neatly wrapped sweets, nutty chews, there were a lot of crappy chocolates in that box. There were also some yummy surprises and while none could change the rocky course cancer took us on, the sweet bites fed our hearts.

People asked me through the years if I had it to do over again, if I would have married someone with cancer. There were a few times, when things were very hard (or I was very tired)  I admit that the question provoked momentary hesitation. Ultimately, however, the answer was always yes. Sure, we all wish we could know what that box of chocolates really holds in life – but do we really? I might have wanted to know what was in store for us in all the days that followed ‘I do’ but I could have easily done without all the scary, the frustrating, even devastating. In the end, we humans rather remember the good, and the tender.

My best friend would assure you that, once upon a time, I never ate chocolate. Yup, I know, what self-respecting girl doesn’t love the stuff?  While I don’t remember when I became a believer, I do know, in these last years, dark chocolate and I have been best friends.  We can’t escape the hurt, pain or even death in that mixed box of life but we dearly love the good stuff.  We get hooked on the hope and possibility of all the foil-wrapped pieces just waiting to be opened.

Forrest Gump said, “You never know what your gonna get” in life’s box of chocolates. But you’re also hardly the only one to get those dreaded hazelnut treats either. They happen to everyone and yes, I’ve had my share for sure.  But these days, even with all the pain and the missing, I still long for one more taste of the one with the sweet cherry center.




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