Deeply, truly happy…

So, I’ve been pondering happiness lately. I’ve been thinking about joy and what makes me joyful…there have been so many moments in my life that I have been deeply, truly happy. I have felt my heart build with warmth and love.  I have laughed so hard that my belly aches. I have made friends, had moments, made choices in my life that have brought me a sense of fulfillment and, well, joy…

My life was not made of cream and sugar before my husband died.  It was far from perfect. There was good and bad like everyone else.  There were years of happy marriage and years that were very bumpy.  There were moments of joy that I was so grateful for I thought my heart would burst, but there were also moments of hurt and pain that permeated my soul.

Or so I thought…

Grief is such a strange beast.  It brings me great sadness and great appreciation of joy.  It brings me to my knees some days.  It helps me recognize beauty, love and joy in new ways. It has forever changed me…both for better and for worse I think.

I have always been pretty responsible. I am a first born daughter with four younger siblings…always wanted to mother them.  I am a cancer…nurturing, homebody, and again, someone who wants to take care of everyone.  I am a worker bee, like my dad, I can work, work, work until I drop.  All these things have been a part of me for a very long time. Here’s the thing, being a sole parent has intensified many of these parts of me.  The responsible me has been so intensified trying to survive Dave’s death that the girl that used to find joy in many things has nearly been squashed.  The responsibility never ends so I have shoved fun under the rug.  It is so far under the rug, that many days I fear it may be lost there forever. There is always something to be concerned with…kids, money, home, work. There is always something that I haven’t gotten to or has slipped to the sidelines for another day.  What there hasn’t been much of in the past years is fun…

I think this is to be expected for a while.  I had to adjust.  I had to take on the work of two parents. I had to deal with my heartbreak, my kids heartbreak. I had to figure out how to survive. All this leaves me wondering if I will ever find my way back to moments of carefree joy…those moments when I can leave the responsibilities on the shelf…just for a moment…to be a happy me.  I try to weave happy into my life, but it seems so shallow most days.  At the end of the day, I still come home to the things I haven’t finished and no one to share my life with anymore. I really liked having someone to share my life with…I really liked having someone around who liked having me around…it is so different being the only grown up in the house with kids.  There is no one to let off steam with about the daily crap and musings.  There is no one who cares about how my day went.  There is really just me…it’s getting kinda old.  I know how my day went.  I know how I feel.  I miss having someone to goof around with, laugh with, someone who gets my sense of humor and won’t let me hold a pity party for too long.  It would be nice to hear someone else’s voice at the end of the day…not just the voice in my head!

I know that happy and responsible aren’t two separate entities.  I know that I have to learn how to weave all this back together…maybe it just isn’t time yet. Who knows?

I know I’ve made it this far.  I know that I feel better than I did last year, four years ago, seven years ago…

Maybe that will just have to be enough for now.  Maybe that is the necessary step to feeling deeply and truly happy again…for now, I will hope that is the case and know that each day I am one step closer to the healing and joy that I really want and need.

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One thought on “Deeply, truly happy…

  1. I was thinking today about the little things that undo me. Not undo me in any big or lasting way but little things that give me little moments of anguish. I think I am fine on my own. I take care of myself and I am fortunate to have wonderful children who look out for me and good friends and family that truly care. I have a life that is good and for the most part, I’m content; I’m okay.

    Every now and then, there’s a moment or two like today. I was in a store and waiting in line for quite a while. I couldn’t help but observe the couple in front of me. They were rather nondescript but as the wait went on and on (and on and on and on), I couldn’t help but be aware of their interaction. The questions, the attention one paid to the other; did one want a soda, what about this snack item. When it was finally their turn to pay, they had several bags of items they had purchased. The man walked away with the first bag, looking at something else and then suddenly it must have dawned on him that there were several other bags to carry and he hustled over to get them so the woman did not have to. It wasn’t a big gesture, but it was a thoughtful one. I doubt the woman even noticed, as it was most likely par for the course of their everyday interaction. I felt a twinge as I watched them, and again as I followed them out of the store, my own transaction complete.

    Most of the time, after ten years, I forget what it’s like to have that kind of intimacy and interaction. A partner looking out for me and me for him. Then suddenly, I remember. Some small action comes to my attention and I remember and feel what that used to be like. As you say, it wasn’t all special or thoughtful times when I did have my husband, but there were lots of everyday little moments like that and I do miss them every now and again.

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