By Mary Cucarola – 11/26/19
“When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story.” ~Barney Stinson
I have to remind myself this time of year it is okay to be sad, out of sorts, and on the verge of crying every minute. But I also have to remember it is okay to be happy, too. My sadness is always triggered by the holidays because it asks me to enter into realms of everything I’ve lost. It is totally natural and human to grieve the loss of my son and my old life.
I decided that I would feel my sadness and give myself permission to feel my happiness, too. They can coexist because they are always intertwined. I cannot take a single step forward without taking my grief with me because it never goes away, and at the same time my happiness likes to tag along once in a while. More often now than before. If I try to kill off my sadness, I may mistakenly kill off my happiness in the process. That’s what happens when I become numb to my feelings – I don’t feel either sadness or happiness.
And, that would be a pity because life is too short to be numb all of the time.
So, I don’t try to kill off my sadness. I make space for it. Grief has an important job in my life. I’ve let it give me purpose and meaning by helping others. I’ve learned many painful lessons from it, and it has made me grow. The less I fight it, the less is fights back. I let it humble me and remind me of the abundance that exists in my life today. I’ve accepted the fact that my “if only” wishes are not going to come true.
I can’t ask Santa for my son back.
Happiness, on the other hand, is a decision I have to make. I have to let it make me laugh and feel connected to others, despite not having my son around. I have to let it enjoy giving thanks for what I do have, instead of what I don’t have. I don’t have to let it make me feel guilty for experiencing a hint of joy once in a while. I need to remember I deserve to bring in the light and enjoy some moments with the people who are still here and part of my new life.
I love my family and friends endlessly.
Sadness is boring, and I don’t want to spread around my pain, especially during the holidays. Pain is not the most interesting thing about me anyway and doesn’t define who I am. I’ve had dreams and aspirations my whole life, some fulfilled, and some not. I still do. I’m allowed to have a bucket list like everyone else. All I have to do is make the choice to still dream and embrace happiness and even joy.
When I get sad, I can stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story.
So, I make space for happiness and sadness. I allow these two opposing feelings to be equally true, inside my soul, and I move forward one day at a time with the lines blurred between high and low, between light and heavy, and between God and my paradox.
Mary Cucarola – 11/26/19