I had never heard of this book Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson until one of my co-workers kind of sideways told me about it after something I had said—no I don’t remember what it was now but she said she was worried I would take it the wrong way. WHAT is she talking about, that’s what I was thinking?
When she explained that I would probably like the book and that the lady who wrote it reminded her of me with some of the things that she says and does. I was intrigued because I usually feel like there is something wrong the way I think and or feel so if I reminded her of a book that made her laugh I wanted to read it and NOW, but darn, I had to wait to read her copy if I wanted to read it, okay I could wait-I was reading something else then anyway. She then pointed out how she didn’t want to offend me because while the lady is funny and reminded her of me, she is also writing about her suffering from depression and anxiety…Hmmm, even more intriguing because although I wouldn’t say I’m depressed, I would say that having recently becoming a widow while trying to raise two teenagers can certainly have loads of depressing thoughts and feelings.
Being left behind and grief have a way of making one feel just like that. No way around it, the moments that follow the loss of a spouse are anything but funny. However, it just seemed to be one weird crazyass thing to do after another and I suppose as a method of surviving I found solace in the crazy zany things that were happening and somewhat continue to happen, that I began saying “crazy” when people asked how I was. I am pretty sure the people who were brave enough to ask me about my status were really thinking I would say ‘sad,’ ‘lonely’, ‘dazed and confused,’ or depressed but were secretly hoping I wouldn’t say ‘consumed by grief’ and then hold their breath waiting to hear me say ‘fine, how are you?’ But, I stumped them or did I when I said “CRAZY.”
Most people really don’t listen to the answer of the question they just asked and so many just overlook it as ‘fine’ but others are taken aback and nervously laugh which is just ‘fine with me’ because there is too much shit to explain and only your real friends or someone who has walked in your shoes can even remotely sympathize or relate.
I say this most always and only had one person- a doctor, actually pause and then say to me “you know, the really crazy people don’t know they’re crazy?” No, I didn’t know that and although my Achilles tendon still hurts, I guess I felt a bit better about my state of mind but the next time I was in his office I read his bio and I guess I should have been impressed but somehow it was just a bit too much or maybe it was the football references were I lost interest not sure, but I am sure I feel rather crazy most of the time. Somedays less so because like everything else, there is a crazy continuum and I run up and down it.
I am getting pretty used to these feelings as my normal and have accepted the situations as “they are what they are” so I might as well embrace it and keep moving. Really though what real options other than this do I have? I could do nothing about the brain cancer my husband had, I could do nothing about the treatments and ultimate final outcome. I could not spare my children from the pain of losing a parent. I could not replace his income and cover all the medical expenses—had no life insurance but had some of his social security which was nice—thanks US government. I also couldn’t do anything else other than start selling off all the big ticket items or toys we had because like I said, the kids and I were down to my income and their social security. It could have been some much worse I know, because sad things happen to lots of people.
But I did decide I did not want to be bitter and sad years later but mostly I was worried about that bitter feeling of losing a husband who pretty much took care of all the finances-except my income contribution, the house, the vehicles, the vacations, the driving while on vacations which meant pulling a trailer or a boat, the sports with the kids, the volunteering with the kids teachers and classroom events, the yard, repairs for all of the above where necessary, building cool stuff like my bedroom furniture or other things I might dream up and talk him into but the listening to me at the end of a long day at school is what I miss the most. We used to be able to debrief and witness each other’s lives pretty much in that time frame and then it was gone so now what? Well, now I just feel crazy.
In that long-ass list there are plenty of things that could make one bitter or at least less than thrilled and I fully embraced the fact that I was going to have a bunch of negative emotions to deal with but that I would work on ways to deal with ALL THE MUCK, thus my mindset to live a happier life, not one that was happier now that my husband was gone but to participate in life such that happiness was a natural outgrowth. Maybe a life well lived instead of just going through it and all the motions. I do feel rather crazy most of the time though but I it’s a comforting feeling now.