The last time I posted here it was as an announcement for a book I wrote called Finding Nine. At the time I told myself and others the book was not about the son I lost. And in fact it was inspired during a road trip with his daughter long before he was even ill. My loyal readers though seemed to know the truth while I continued to find pleasure as I continued to write surrounded by my own denial. The kind of denial that stays with a mother long after her child has died.
This month I’m once again writing in the NaNoWriMo 50,000 word count rough draft challenge. As I write it comes to me there is no way for me as a newbie writer to write anything that I do not know. So in goes an overheard conversation, a detail taken out of my own life, a stolen vignette from someone else’s, a piece or many pieces of my son’s story. His life, who he was, who I wanted him to be, the man he became. Little bits and pieces here and there making up for his absence in my real life. In fiction he is always by my side. I write in a character by his name during the rough draft, changed later on. But while I write it is him who comes to life on the page, or parts of him mixed in with someone of my imaginings.
He is beside me. This is what I forgot recently while I sat ensconced in the weight of misery. Putting off writing until I felt lighter and less alone. But he is here, right here with his voice whispering details in my ear. Thank you Jason, Write on!
Well it looks like I fell off the 100 days of Happiness commitment wagon. In fact I have not written about happiness since June 25 or day 25 of my 100 days. How about this, I will pick up where I left off? I’ll start day 26 right here right now. Someone once asked me, “do you want to be a quitter or a failure”. This question was in relation to my desire to pack the BC real estate course in. I’d come to the stage in the course where I had to learn to use a business calculator. Math not ever having been my forte I froze every time I tried to do an assignment. The course was taken via distance and so I’d snail mail my assignments in once a week. And most times I’d get every thing almost right. It was so long ago I can’t recall how many wrong answers you were allowed before they’d make you redo that weeks assignment. During the math section my work was sent back every week. So, as I was saying some smart person posed that question to me. Today I am asking myself that question. Is it important to follow through with a promise immediately or in this case within 100 days. Or is it enough to check in from time to time to say “yup, I had some happy days”. And I did. I did. Today though I feel really happy and that is why I’m writing in my blog. Just to reach out and say it’s ok to find joy in the mundane. I found my happiness today and the last few days, cleaning out my closets, sorting through junk and tossing what I don’t need. Soon all will be in order and I’ll feel even better than I do this day. This day, I feel grateful to recognize joy when I feel it. And I feel go to remember how good it feels to just start again as if there were never a break and also to remember what I said that day so long ago, “I’d rather be a failure than a quitter any day”.
If yesterday didn’t present me with an obvious happy or spectacular moment today already has. For the past fourteen years we’ve provided care for a young woman with autism spectrum disorder. She is lovely and provides me with many insights and lessons on communication and human nature too. She lives in our suite and has complete access to the whole house; having her own suite just makes sense for all of us. Though I do all the cooking and cleaning, having her own place gives her a semblance of independence and also gives her privacy and time alone. Each morning she phones to ask what’s for breakfast and today she stuck to routine and called as usual. When my cell phone rang, I was writing in my journal a Happy Father’s Day message and how we miss our son Jason on days like this. So when I answered, I asked her if she would like to wish a happy Father’s Day. She giggled and asked what she should say; just what ever she might write in a birthday card I told her. She began to sing a song to the tune of “we wish you a Merry Christmas”. And it began like this, “we wish you a happy Father’s Day” and ended like this “…..and a happy new year”. Her voice is sweet and high and hearing her made us laugh out loud with absolute pleasure. A Happy Father’s Day for my man and happiness for me to see him have such pleasure.
There is a school of thought that dictates writing must have a healthy dose of adversity to be interesting. Writing happy stories with happy endings is not what many readers want. Readers want the blood and guts of life, the challenges faced every day when waking up, they want the exposed and raw under belly, they want to know the writer has a more interesting and sad and miserable life than they do. Is it human nature to lean toward the negative to want to hear the gory details? During my 100 Happy Days project, it has truly been a challenge to document the one event or picture or comment or insight that represents another moment, during the day, that I can call happiness. Each night I go to bed unsure if I will find a happy moment the next day.
And then each day I manage to find it, that spot of sheer joy. Except today I didn’t, today is a day that is just mediocre; so far nothing has happened to make me feel utterly glad. I did stand in a lineup to sign a two year contract to own a cell phone. My phone was free with the signing, that’s something to feel happy about. I did this so I might have text communication and FaceTime communication with a grandchild. But getting the phone was a kind of pay it forward happy time. In other words the phone has the potential to give me a happy moment if I get a text reply or a chat on FaceTime! It is no guarantee I will experience a pleasurable moment or a spot of happiness associated with the hoped for contact from another. It is just another little bit of technology, another little piece of connectedness that in the end guarantees not a word. And as i have said before, “there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way”. So what inspirational picture can I offer today? Here it is….a gateway to the preverbal, greener pasture.
Do you have a sister? I do, in fact I have a few more than one. I am the youngest and truly at times I feel ancient compared to any of them on any given day. Very busy women are my sisters. Today one sis took time out of her busy schedule to entertain me and my dog. She took us for a walk through the neighbourhoods and along the alley ways, of the west side of Vancouver. We took our time and had a peek at the many lane way houses that are popping up all along the way. We wended our way back to her place and as usual she served up a yummy vegetarian lunch. Her culinary expertise is well know; add to this, her intrinsic way of making the dishes she rolls out taste even more delectable with the attention she pays to the presentation of the meal; she did not disappoint today. A well set table, beautiful looking colourful food and good company. Even the dog was happy.