..... is what I've experienced this week.
Yes, this is the time of year when I usually experience my annual "death march". The time that my body marks, better than any earthly calendar. The days leading up to Jim's unexpected death on December 18, 2007.
This has been a good year. In many ways.
And yet, it seems unbelievable that I am coming up on 6 years.
It seems even more unbelievable that I'm not experiencing the usual depression and hatred of all thing Christmas-related.
But that doesn't mean that there haven't been tears.
The other night I was writing to a friend, telling her how happy I was that she was able to be traveling all over the world with her husband right now, with her kids in college. As I started to write those words, the tears began to flow. And I admitted to her that I am envious.
Envious because that is what I should be doing right now, with Jim.
But I'm not.
I'm still able to be happy for her, and to smile through the tears.
Tonight, I took my mom to see Billy Crystal's one-man show, entitled "700 Sunday's".
I had no idea what the title meant, I only knew that it was about his life.
And that he's incredibly talented.
And that I truly enjoy him.
But ...... here's what I found out: "700 Sundays" refers to how many Sundays he estimates that he had (his favorite family day of the week) with his dad ...... before he died when Billy was 15.
He had a great childhood, to say the least, until his father died.
In the show, he talks about the night his father died, and how his mother came home to tell him about it, when he was in bed, asleep.
And as he talked about this point in his life, time seemed to swirl around me ...... and then it took me back to the wee hours of December 18th, 2007.
The night I climbed into bed with my 15 year old (and then my 13 year old) ...... and had to tell him that, in spite of what I had been told, what I had believed, what I had told him ...... his dad had died.
The tears would not stop flowing. He talked about how his father's death affected his life, emotionally, physically and financially. And suddenly, I could see December 18, 2007 ...... and its aftermath ...... through the eyes of my 15 year old.
I wish I could have seen it that way then ...... but I could not. And, truth be told, if it were to happen all over again, I believe I'd react the same way. I lost my husband, my first love, my best friend, my protector, my supporter, my cheerleader, my moral compass, the father of my children ...... my future, in one unexpected moment.
I doubt that I'd react any differently now, though I wish I could've.
It was what it was.
So tonight I laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed.
And I cried, and cried and cried.
It was a great show. It was very moving and very emotional, which I did not expect.
Two years ago, this show would've done me in.
I would've been depressed for weeks.
But tonight ...... tonight I can see it for what it was. A true story, with many, many laughs over happy memories.
A true story with many, many tears ...... because that's what life is.
Tears amongst happiness.
It used to be smiles amongst sadness ...... but that's changed.
I'm mostly happy.
Tears still come, as they have this week ...... and as I'm sure they will continue to come at this time of year.
But I am happy. And I know that the tears will not come in waves that will pull me under.
Like they used to.
Everyone has happy memories.
And everyone has sad memories.
Which makes me ...... normal.
I thank God for normal.