Friday, July 24, 2009

Happiness on Hold

All of the empowerment books I have been reading have stressed the need to find the good in any situation, including my latest read, "Embracing Uncertainty - Breakthrough Methods For Achieving Peace of Mind When Facing the Unknown" by Susan Jeffers, PhD. Try as I might, I am unable to come up with any positives from the death of my first husband. In these books it is interesting to note that the examples given do not include death. For instance, the author might talk about finding the good in losing your job or losing money in the stock market. Where is the good in leaving two boys fatherless at ages 9 and 10? Or leaving your wife in financial duress so that the house is in foreclosure? You might be able to stretch the situation a bit and say that certain blessings came about after the death but I will remain steadfast in my belief that not all situations contain good within them.

I have also struggled with the concept of happiness, especially since husband #2 left me. Is it possible for people to be happy in the face of intense pain, grief and adversity? I believe there can be moments of happiness but that there might be periods in our life where we're just not going to be happy.

In facing the loss of our home I am swept back to the numbness I felt in the early days following my husband's death. I am functioning on autopilot - if I think too much, I'll hurt too much. For now, it is all I can do to get by. How in the world can someone in this state be charged with finding the good in their terrible situation, as well as trying to be happy? I don't even want to be happy right now. I want to grieve and mourn this new loss that stems from the death of my husband. It is a time for tears and not laughter.

Today I am grateful:

1. For the opportunity to see my boys play baseball.
2. That I had Friday night off (somewhat of a rarity).
3. That the rain held until after the game.
4. That I got a fair amount of knitting done while watching the game.
5. That I can sleep in a little tomorrow.


  1. i feel your anger, frustration, and sorrow coming off your words as clearly as seeing tears on someone's face. it's my humble and unsolicited opinion that right now is not the time to look for the good in what has happened to you. right now is about enduring. much later on, when you're far past this time and can look back with the eyes of the survivor, you will be able to see, maybe not something that can truly be defined as "good," but at the knowledge acquired, the rueful acceptance that you had the strength of heart to rail against the unfairness, and the iron will to last. sometimes that's all we have to hang onto, that sentence that Henri Charriere wrote in his book "Papillon" and what Steve McQueen delivered so well. "i'm still here you, bast****."

    write about your anger. express your hatred, fears, sorrows, doubts. get them all out. someone is listening and though they cannot do a damn thing to help, sometimes knowing someone else understands you and doesn't regurgitate some lightly veiled criticism in the form of advice might make you feel not quite so alone. as always, i am here.

  2. You have such wonderful insight and provide such heartfelt support - thank you! I like your comment about just enduring right now. That is all I pretty much have the energy for anyway!

  3. I have found that those who preach the silver lining in every cloud also tend to preach "there's a reason for everything." Sometimes I do think there is a hidden blessing in some events, and sometimes it does seem like the universe/karma/God had a hand in it, but mostly I think that crappy things happen, and we have to deal with it the best we can. For me, it's not about finding the happiness IN the bad situation, but rather finding happiness IN SPITE OF the bad situation. Like you said, who can find happiness in the death of their spouse? But being able to keep living, finding joy in small things (I especially like your "grateful" list), I think that is what matters. Anyway, just wanted to let you know I hear you.

  4. Sari, thanks for your perspective on this. I like the emphasis on finding happiness IN SPITE OF what happened. That makes more sense than finding happiness within the bad. Your view on this makes more sense to me - I am so glad you passed it on. I have really been stuck on this issue and you've opened up a new way of seeing it. I feel a lot better about this.