Originally uploaded by Mariss Balodis
My thought today is this, how do we create joy in the midst of grieving?
This morning I awoke to rain and dark skies. And while I tend to love the rain, the change in weather has mirrored my mood. I have not fallen into despair, but my mood has come down from where it has been these past few days. It is always very telling when the kids are putting in so much effort to engage me in conversations, or activities, with only minimal success. I'm sure they see it, and without thinking, begin preventive measures to save me from sliding downward.
I sometimes feel like my grieving is similar to what a manic-depressive person goes through. Without much cause, my mood can shift dramatically, or subtly. Today has been more subtle. My voice has a monotone quality to it. My movement in minimal. I have a calmness about me that walks a fine line with numbness.
When I am like this I tend to make choices that don't necessarily help me counter my downward shift. Earlier I was searching for a movie to watch. I saw that there was a Patrick Swayze film on, City of Joy, that I have never really completely watched. I selected it, then settled onto the couch. The kids were in and out, but eventually settled into the living room as well, watching the film with me. Of course they were not aware that this film choice, or actually it's lead actor, was not going to help my mood.
Patrick Swayze died the day after Michael did. During the past couple of years I have been very aware of some of the stars who were battling cancer, such as Patrick, or Farrah Fawcett. Somehow seeing their pictures in all the magazines these past couple of years were an ongoing reminder of my reality with Michael. Every time I went into the grocery store, every time I turned on the television, there might be something about the stars conditions. It was a reminder of how frail we all are, no matter our position in life. Even watching a favorite sit-com on television reminded me of our reality. One of our favorites was Ugly Betty. Last year the character Daniel fell in love with Molly, who ended up with cancer, and who died at the end of the season. In the middle of the season, the storyline got too close to home, and I stopped watching.
Now I look back over the past year, and all those that I was following, be it actors in the news, characters on t.v., people in my previous brain tumor support group, or my Michael, have all died. Now I no longer view the world through the eyes of hope. Now my vision is clouded by grief. On a more clearer day, I no longer can see forever. I feel like there was once an innocence of life that is no longer.
I would like to think that I had more power, or persuasion, in creating joy in my life. Sometimes I wish I was better at faking it. I used to do a bit of acting when I was a kid. I enjoyed it. These days it is part of my survival. I act everyday. When I step outside my home each morning I begin playing a character. The role is that of an optimistic widower. I try to wear a smile, and to look upbeat. It can help me get through the day, creating the illusion of joy. Maybe it's not exactly joy that I am projecting, but at least it is a bit of optimism.
I don't really want to be faking my emotions, but sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. And as far as feeling joyful, I would like to feel it more than I currently do. I look out my window, the rain has stopped. The air is very still, not one leaf on the tree is moving. Darkness is setting in.
My youngest just walked into the room. "What's wrong Dad, you look tired, or, something."