Saturday, May 9, 2009


I finally got a chance to read a book I've been meaning to for years - actress Carrie Fisher's "Post Cards From the Edge." It was funny and entertaining. Toward the end, I came across a section that made me really ponder. Two of the book's characters are talking about happiness and one defines it as an absence of anxiety or pain. This really struck me because currently in my life I'm dealing with a lot of anxiety, as well as pain. Not to mention all of the grief and loss over the past five years since my husband died. So I got to wondering, is it possible to be happy when one is dealing with significant anxiety, pain as well as grief/loss? What happens to those of us who go through years of hardship? Can we be happy during times of strife and difficulty? Is it only possible to be happy when life is going your way?

Maybe those of us grieving only have snatches of happiness. A day after my husband died, I was caught laughing by my younger son who couldn't believe I was doing so. I assured him it was okay to laugh at something funny because it was. But was I really happy a day after my husband died? No, of course not. I just laughed at a funny event - a moment that lasted a minute or two.

Everyone out there has lives filled with stress, anxiety and pain. But grieving folks have all the regular stuff and the grief/loss issues as well - a double-whammy. I know for me that it doesn't seem possible to really feel happy right now. It looks as though we are going to lose the house and with that in my future for the upcoming months there won't be a period without anxiety or pain. So do I resign myself to being unhappy for the near future?

Today I am grateful:

1. For the quaint, charming historic town I live in.
2. For the excellent schools in our community.
3. For all the cute kids I see out and about in their little league uniforms.
4. For capri or cropped pants - how cool is it to have something in between shorts and pants to wear in the Spring.
5. For putting in a honest day's work and then some that deserves a good night of sleep.


  1. Yes, yes, yes!
    Of course you are entitled to be happy.
    You have to allow yourself to be, though, and you also have to work at it. And some days it is easier than others.
    For now I am content to take happiness as it comes. Small doses are fine - pleasure at seeing the newly-arrived swallows building their nests, watching seeds germinate in the pots on my windowsill or enjoying a well-cooked meal. Longer doses are better, and time spent shooting the breeze with friends is the very best tonic of all. Even widows are allowed to laugh. Truly they are.

  2. J - I have come to believe that it is up to ourselves to create happiness but right now that is just another thing to have to add to the "to-do list." You're right that some days it is easier than others. Maybe on those harder days I just have to let up on myself and realize that I'm not going to be that happy - and that is okay. We're entitled to be happy but also entitled to times we're not.

    I love the images that came to mind when you described the swallows, the seeds germinating and a well-cooked meal. It is the little things in front of our eyes all day that have the potential to bring such happiness and we so often overlook them or take them for granted.