Almost two months ago, my husband’s brother passed away. He was diagnosed with brain cancer a year and a half ago. He was 34, and he left behind two sweet, young children. It’s incredibly heartbreaking and we miss him terribly.

This has been a hard, emotional 18 months for our family. We’ve gone through so many different thoughts and feelings. I remember waking up several times in the middle of the night after his tumour was discovered. I kept thinking I was having terrible nightmares. I tried to talk myself into it being a bad dream. But I couldn’t, because it wasn’t. It was all just horribly true.

Through two surgeries, a round of radiation and many, many rounds of chemotherapy, our family experienced everything from fear, to hope, to profound sadness, to gratitude for everything we did have – free healthcare, amazing doctors, nurses and other health providers, a wonderfully supportive community and dear friends. And we’re so lucky to have each other to lean on and cry with.

Last month we had his Celebration of Life. Over 800 people came. It was incredibly touching and very, very inspiring. Everyone shared their memories of him and how he had touched their lives. We grieved together.

We miss him. A lot. We will never stop missing him.

And yet.. despite this heartbreaking time in our lives…

I still believe in Happiness.

In fact, I believe in it even more.

I believe that when we experience joy, we need to savour it. Just because it isn’t going to last – especially because it isn’t going to last – doesn’t mean we should dance along the surface of it. We should dive into it completely, with our whole being, and truly enjoy it.

I believe that we need to feel the full spectrum of emotions. All of our emotions. If we can’t let ourselves feel profound sadness, we won’t be able to experience our positive emotions to the same degree. It’s all real, and it’s all important.

I believe in gratitude, and community, and connection.

I believe in living a meaningful life.

Above all, my brother-in-law lived a meaningful life. And he has inspired me to do the same.

I Still Believe in Happiness