Erin's Journals

Monday, September 28, 2020

Just a thought… Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something isn’t to your liking, change your liking. [Rick Steves]

Well, what a weekend that was! Thanks to our Friday popcorn-and-movie night, and a PA day for Colin today, we had two little boy sleepovers with him, and on my birthday Saturday, a night at an inn for me and my bigger boy (that would be Rob). I’m feeling mellow and happy and grateful today and frankly, my friend, I don’t know what to do with it.

As we were walking through a beautifully treed area yesterday in Malahat, BC yesterday, the fragrance of the breeze and sunshine on trees and plants recently drenched in days of intermittent rain, I shared with Rob my quandary: I’ve lost my edge.

So why is that not a good thing? I feel that in writing here, I should be more than a big bowl of trifle every time you come to visit: more than fruit and cream and bits of cake, I should use this space to share more, do more.

All around me there is pain and uncertainty. Every feed is filled with angry, acerbic comments. People are suffering from insecurities of every kind as we watch and wait and wonder what a pandemic that never truly went away is going to do next.

The problem is that I’m too damned happy.

Paging Catholic guilt. Catholic guilt – line one, please…. 

I haven’t felt this joyful in five years and I’m not sure how to handle these feelings. I’ve never felt so out of step with humankind in my life. I know, I know: I’ve suffered deeply – we have – for the past five years, in the aftermath of a family tragedy that I don’t even have to name here any more.

The last time we were this blissful, the rug was pulled out from under our lives. As I told you in Mourning Has Broken, I felt as if somehow we deserved it; the Monkey’s Paw effect. It sounds insane, but in trying to find some logic in the enormity of our loss, I had to find a way to blame myself.

Enough time has passed, enough reading done and wisdom accrued that I know not to dread that the universe will tug it again; my job is simply to embrace each day and be joyful for the opportunities that it contains. Live in the moment.

But where does that leave you, my dear reader? I sometimes feel my writings or posts on FB sound as if I’ve been lobotomized (remind me not to watch the Nurse Ratched trailer again on Netflix). A few weeks ago, a Twitter account run by the alleged puppet comic Ed the Sock commented on one of my optimistic posts, saying that he liked that wisdom so much more when it was accompanied by the crispy fortune cookie it came in. Stupid, yes, but that hit home.

I didn’t respond to let him/it know that he/it had gotten to me, opting to block him/it instead, but it gave me pause. My lack of edge was obviously something that he/it found worth ridiculing and although I don’t agree, I get that.

My form of humour has always been not to ridicule (MAGA hat wearers notwithstanding) and hopefully to find more clever ways to be funny than through being mean. I’m not perfect, but I’ve tried. A sock with a cigar in its face (?) can’t be expected to buy what I’m putting out there. But why the follow on Twitter, “Ed,” darn you? (Now there’s some solid sock humour. Darning. Sock. Get it? Ugh. Sorry.)

Back in June when we learned that our Ottawa family – Phil, Brooke, Colin and Jane (whose first birthday is this Wednesday) – would be moving to within a six minute drive of us, I tried to assure both you and me that all of my posts wouldn’t be saccharine, family-related journals. Little did I know that I’d find myself in such a bubble of undiluted happiness, I’d be worried about seeming to be oblivious to suffering.

I will always believe that what we do, who we are, is a result of choices. Did we choose to lose our only child? Well, of course not. It feels ridiculous even writing that question. But how we chose to go on – that was our decision to make.

I never stopped hoping, believing in, writing and talking about joy. I knew it was ours for the taking in little bites, wherever we could find it. And now, when buffets are closed to help save us from a deadly virus, here I am with my plate so full I can barely carry it. What else am I to do when after a day of deluge, this rainbow behind me greeted us at dinner Saturday night?

So please bear with me while I figure out how to balance all of this. In the meantime, have some trifle. There’s no booze in it, but I’m better this way. And right now, it’s all-you-can-eat. Have a good week.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, September 28, 2020