Saturday, April 18, 2015

Happiness is a blog from the heart…

Why do we write blogs; those that do?  What do we want people to do with them?  I write for a need to explain my feelings; it helps me to understand myself better; this I understand but why do people read these blogs?

I read other blogs that belong to friends because it gives me insight into their lives; I read blogs from others I do not know but what’s interesting is that I don’t read blogs written by men and I’m not sure why.

Women write emotionally and I am looking to connect with others who share the same maladies as I do but more than that; I look towards their solutions.  Someone asked me the other day how I could put myself out there for so many to see; bare myself naked as I do.  When you strip away your own frailties; no one else can do this to you.

Many I know look at me with sadness at the death of my son; I get this, especially my closest friends who can still see the sadness in my eyes; but I am not so much as sad as wondering what to do with my  emotions.  I need new paths for my day to day life and I need new recognition for my newest memories so they don’t get left in the trash heap of life’s underutilized day to day events.

I am reconciling.  I am reconfiguring.  I am reinventing.  I am restarting my heart.  I was listening today to a mother and grandmother who lost two boys in the Oklahoma City bombing 20 years ago.  One newsman said that his wife mentioned that when his son was born, her heart was now outside of her body.  This was one of the most accurate descriptions I have ever heard and felt.  That’s why it’s so difficult to address; how can you restart your heart when it’s outside of your body.

Blogging is good therapy but please do me a favor; I am not looking for sympathy in my writing; I am looking to resurrect my life and give it new meaning.  Happiness is realizing that I still have a reason to revive my life and my personal meaning; join me in moving ahead…

Friday, April 17, 2015

Is happiness hidden in the past…look back and see

When you’re worried and you can’t sleep just count your blessings instead of sheep…  People often ask me how I am now that Jeremy is gone.  That’s an interesting question because I am … different.  My doctor gave me some strong advice, he said” You won’t get over it, you’ll just get used to it.”  I have; I am getting used to it.

Love is an unquantifiable emotion; even when you’re very young; the depth of your emotion is difficult to describe; why do we love; how do we relate to love; is love a natural occurrence; does it require some special gift? Once you love someone; that depth of emotion never leaves you; it is the pattern for your next attachment.  I am lucky; I have loved deeply in my life and I continue to love as strongly as ever; maybe more so.

I can count my major love experiences and recognize the value of each and every one: my mother and sisters, my dogs, my first best friend, my first high school crush; Jim; Jeremy, Joe, my friends, and myself.  I have not always loved myself as I should have and I am still learning to treat me as I should be treated… like a great friend. 

My past is filled with joys, excitement, successes, friendships, love, and great memories.  I have done a few things right and I need to remember that; picture albums are great for this but they usually don’t capture the moments we want to remember.  I like to think about the average mundane day when nothing special happened and realize how lucky I was and am to have these memories.

I enjoy remembering and counting the times I laughed out loud; smiled deep within my heart; cried and almost wet my pants with laughter; read my first favorite book; reread my favorite book; met someone special; helped someone deal with disappointment; helped someone succeed; how I held my son every time I did until the end…

Now I look at pictures of smiling faces, especially Jeremy’s smiling face.  I think his goofiest moments were the best but I also enjoy remembering his first tattoo; his first girlfriend; his many successes; his Herman Munster laugh so hearty, so genuine.

I am happy; I am lucky; I have loved; I continue to love.  I don’t count sheep, I count my blessings.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It’s in the genes…happiness that is

How do you start again?  How do you recover from life’s atrocities and go forward.  It takes a lot of work because forgetting is not an option and we all have to move forward, don’t we?

Human beings are so complex; give me a good dog any day, no muss no fuss:  walk me, feed me, play with me, and love me; repeat daily.  Humans have a hard time loving and being loved; our personal flaws are deep and striking and we wear our pain on our faces and in our hearts, especially as we age; but I see some, a few lucky ones, who always seem to rebound and I ask myself, how do they do it?

Everyone has difficult choices to make in life and the longer you walk this earth the more obvious it is but it’s the circumstances that are thrown at us like boulders of despair that you must leap over or work around that make life so dangerously complex.  My mother always said, “God only gives you what you can handle,” but I’ve always hated that phrase and to be honest I have always resented it.

I am doing some personal calculations for improvement now; looking to make changes in my life that will bring me happiness on a more consistent basis.  I want to feel healthy (I’ve got a ways to go there); I want to wake up after a good night’s sleep unmedicated with a smile on my face (this will take plenty of effort); I want to feel deserved of the love I do have from my husband and my family (I am more successful at this goal, so far); and I want to live and love like my dog (less complicated, more loving, and perky). 

Yes, my role model for change is based on my Zeffy my pupper.  He is appreciative of all contact with Joe and I; shows constant love and affection.  Zeffy is always near one of us, touching us, kissing us, wagging his tail in appreciation and joy.  He is protective of us, happy to see us each morning without exception and grateful for any love and time we give him.

So I have figured it out; happiness is in the genes but we need to reactivate our happiness genes because they been dormant too long.  I have my role model, who is yours?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Happiness is…a rose by any other name

So, we’re married for one whole week and many people have weighed in on our life changes; friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors; of course when you write a blog, that’s what you should expect.

What I didn’t expect is how many people would vicariously feel the delight and love created by our union. Two lives that have been joined as one based on love and mutual respect. The look on the faces of our friends and family has been incredible; their personal responses; the true tears of joy; the genuine emotion expressed has been staggering.

I am old fashioned and so is Joe.  We knew what marriage meant to us and all marriages are a private affair to some extent; a personal expression of love and respect but the reaction from our close friends and family was astonishing  with barely an exception..

At first some of them were stunned; asking if we were sure about this life change. For Joe and I, there were no reservations but for some others; there were a few caution flags thrown.  Is it too soon after the death of Jeremy? You two are fine as you are; why get married?

It is true that we were fine as we were but we are, in fact, better for our marriage than even I would have expected.

I am in the process of changing my legal name which is a fairly substantial effort.  Once again; most of our community said; you don’t need to do this but that’s not why I am.

In my world and time, when you marry someone; you should give your entire self to him as he has to me.  The small effort of showing that I belong only to him is the least I can do to show my love and affection.

When you truly love someone; that emotion; that feeling is added to your heart in such as way that it doesn’t disrupt your previous loves and life experiences; it enhances them; it rekindles them; there is nothing like the feeling of true love and the smile that goes with it...

Getting married was starting a new chapter in our lives.  It has awakened strong memories; good ones; a rebirth of our lives together; an enhancement of our souls.

My mother always told me that love was never wrong and commitment is the signature of strength and fidelity. So here I am: in my 60's smiling....happiness is marrying Joe.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Happiness is….when your heart is filled to the brim

As many of you know, I was married to Joe yesterday.  We have been together for almost eight years and I have grown to love him with all my heart and soul.  Two weeks ago, he brought me to one of my favorite childhood places in Morgan Park in Glen Cove where I grew up near the beach. I used to call it my castle. He was so filled with emotion when he dropped to one knee and I was stunned and my eyes welled up with tears of joyfulness.

We spoke of marriage in the past but the idea and the ideal seemed far away.  After the death of my son, my soul was filled with “the horrible nothing that all parents feel at the death of their child;” an emptiness almost too difficult to describe; a void that seemed endless. 

There is an old proverb that says, “When your heart is empty; that is the time something wonderful can come into your life and fill your heart with passion and joy if you let it.” 

If walking on air were a reality; I’d been at least ten feet off the ground today.  Although our day to day lives will look very similar to the day to day before we said our vows; we still have changed (for the better.)

The most wonderful part has been the reaction of our friends and family; the outpouring of love; the congratulations; the prayers of love and joy from everyone has been overwhelming.  It’s amazing how this simple act of commitment has engendered such a positive reaction from so many.

When people say marriage is becoming a thing of the past; don’t you believe it!  Marriage is still and will always be the act of true compassion, love, commitment and joy that can be shared by so many.  The joy I feel today is a composite picture of the many encouraging reactions we have seen and heard from others.

Thank you friends and family for being so wonderful in your responses to our news. 
So remember, when your heart is so empty that is the time God can fill it with something special if you let him…just look at me…

Happiness is being married to my Joey.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happiness is learning to see with your heart…

People ask me how I survive the days post Jeremy; my response is direct and simple: long ago I learned to see things with my heart instead of my eyes.  My heart has grown throughout my life; leading me to unexpected  paths and has taught me how to live on in spite of life's difficulties by immersing myself in life's joys both present and in the past.

You see, my heart always tells the truth but my eyes seem to lie occasionally or so I believe.  For instance, whenever I look in the mirror, I have a hard time reconciling the face I see.  Who is that “older woman” looking back at me? She smiles a lot like I do.  She has wise eyes like I do but she is just a bit different than my heart tells me I am.   

Most of the time, I am  35 in my mind and heart.  It was a good age for me: professionally experienced; personally experienced; and happy with my life.  I was going in the right direction.

Jeremy was 5 then and a most inquisitive and engaging child; fun to be with and distinctly different from me and his dad.  It was exciting to watch him grow and develop.   It was fun to hear him talk about everything; he was prolific!

When Jeremy was born, though, my heart opened in a way I did not quite understand; I started to see with my soul, my emotion; to replace my common ocular experience with a depth I did not yet understand.  My heart became so full of joy; explosive, raging, constantly aware that by the time he was five,   my heart was  my leading ocular device.

When you see with your heart, you feel joy at the smallest detail which may be easily missed by your eyes.  Your heart adds the emotional quotient each time which is like "smellorama" or some such device enhancing the quality of your visual experience. 

Of course, there are a few disadvantages to heart sight:  you feel more of everything but your memories are more vivid and permanent this way. 

Your eyes have learned to ignore so much of life; they are mere catalogers of your daily experience but your heart etches the encounter into your permanent emotional memory where it is stored for display for the remainder of your life. 

Your joys are brighter and your sadness may be more difficult to withstand at times but the value of human life etching is essential to personal growth and in maintaining your “humanness” and joy throughout your life despite the challenges thrown your way.

So I say, see with your heart…you’ll say "thanks for the permanently etched memories."