A Ceiling on Happiness – Living with Grief

Let me tell you something….

Many people tell me I should write. They apparently think I have interesting things to say, strong opinions, and a bluntness that can be refreshing.  I thought I’d test out the idea.  Let me know what you think.  I begin with a recent life event. 

A Ceiling on Happiness – Living with Grief

I am a 50 year old  housefrau, married with 4 children living at home.  I have experienced many difficult things in my life: family strife, a disabled child, breast cancer.  I am familiar with the concept of grief and have been aware of grieving the loss of my family as I’d hoped it would be, the loss of the healthy child that I thought I would have, and the temporary loss of my health.  None of those things prepared me for the most recent loss I have experienced – the death of my mother.

She had cancer.  Not a new story.  She was a wonderful woman, a “good enough” mom my sister and I used to joke (she was actually a really good Mom; just perfectly imperfect like all of us), a loving wife, grandmother (“Bubbe”) and friend.  I was lucky enough to end up living nearby in my adulthood so she was a big part of my daily life.  I talked to her frequently, sought her advice on cooking, fashion, shopping, childrearing, etiquette – standard Mom fare.  I used to be disdainful of her lack of formal education, her June Cleaver-ish life.  As I matured I came to appreciate her life experience, her goodness, her practicality and lack of pretension.  She was completely comfortable with herself and seemed content with her life.

It’s been one month since she died.  I cry easily and when asked how I’m doing, I usually reply, “sad.”

I spend my energy caring for my family and my home.  While the initial shock is wearing off, I make an effort to get out of my head and interested in the lives of my friends – be “other directed.” Sometimes there is even a glimmer of happiness, such as the thought of a gloriously rainy day at home by myself without the children to tend to.  But then I remember that my Mom is dead and my happiness is tamped down.  I know this is temporary, that time will help, that there will always be times when I acutely miss her.  For now though, there just feels like a ceiling on how happy I can be.

Stay tuned…

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