I’m pretty sure when people think of “happy” people they don’t necessarily see them as courageous or strong, and yet, more than likely, they are happy because they understand how not to be crushed under the weight of fear and adversity.
I remember being in a management class and we were talking about adversity and how to continue to be leaders even if our lives were not swell. And a woman turned to me and said, “What do you have to be stressed about?” And not in a nice, tell me your problems kind of way, but in an accusatory way–“what problems could you possibly have in your life?!” kind of way.
Granted, I displayed a happy face, I dressed nicely (come by that honestly–my mom was a Fashion Coordinator when I was growing up!), I spoke about ideas and not people, and I had a positive attitude. And, I guess, she thought if you looked “good” you’re life is good. And it was good, in a way. In a compartmentalized way, in a “I will not be crushed by this way.” Is that enough “ways” for you?
What she didn’t know, very few did, was my two grown children were both struggling with Heroin addictions. I mean, how does that even happen? Two children three years apart both addicted to Heroin. I was in a backward Universe. Filled with grief and guilt.
Which is to say–I had many things happen in my life before this, but this–the addiction was a new level of stress, grief, and worry. What the woman also didn’t know, was I had made a choice. A choice Not to Suffer. I was not in denial, I simply chose not to suffer while I supported my children in any way I could–suffering would do nothing to help them or the rest of our family. Our youngest was still in middle school and involved in lots of sports and activities, and although he knew, I didn’t let my grief affect his life.
This was over seven years ago, one child has been sober for almost that same amount of time, the other continues his winding road of recovery and relapse. My family has been through a hell of a year. And I still choose not to suffer. I don’t deny my feelings–well, maybe a little, there are times that I think if I let it out, if I start to cry, I may never stop.
And at the same time, I know I have so much to be happy and grateful for! My daughter is doing so well–amazing, she’s my hero and her daughter (my granddaughter is 13! And my delight) is amazing as well. Our youngest is a wonderful human being and cracks me up (actually all my kids do) my husband and I are true partners…I could go on and on.
It all is a decision, right? A decision to not suffer, a decision to remember the good things, while not ignoring the problems–you can handle the problems so much easier when you are not in the suffering vortex, other decisions (besides not suffering) are clearer. And when I wasn’t suffering I could love and show my love (and my boundaries) to my kids who were.
I started writing this post so long ago…and hesitated posting it, it’s not really right, or where I want it to be, but I want it out there for some reason–I hope this helps in some small way.