It’s OK To Be Sad, Even If Other People Don’t Like It

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When is life no longer worth living? At what point is it ok to give it all up already?

Is it when you realize that you are now officially a senior citizen and that all the hopes and dreams you had as a young woman are simply gone?

Is it when you realize your chronic health condition will never disappear and will likely only get worse?

Is it when you hate working so much that you start crying as soon as you get in the car in the morning, but you can’t quit because you need the health insurance?

Is it when it’s become apparent that while you’ve always taken care of everyone around you, no one is willing to take care of you?

Or – is it when all the badness hits at the same time and you become so upset that you tell a family member you’re ready to jump off a 35-story building, and said family member … an adult child … heart of your heart, blood of your blood … replies “Go for it.”   .…  and you know she means it?

A lot has been written about the effects of depression, and we all know those individuals who are chronically depressed. For those people, there are programs, there are hotlines, there are compassionate helpers.

But what about those who, for their entire lives, have been the rock for others, and for a short period of time suffer an emotional breakdown? Don’t “strong” people occasionally need support and understanding, too?

I recently received notice that the local medical school is done – or about to be done – with my mother’s remains and will be holding a memorial service in June. It’s been three years since my mother’s death.

I’ve accepted the fact that my mother – the only person I could lean on in troubled times – is no longer around.  This reminder has hit me harder than it should, perhaps because everything else in my life is going downhill.

While I fully supported my mother’s decision to donate her body to science, and will do the same when my time comes, the thought of medical students cutting into her at this late stage is playing havoc with my emotions. I keep envisioning her rising up from the table and shouting, “I didn’t mean it!

There will be speeches by the medical students during the memorial service. I’ve read some of the prior speeches on the medical school’s website.  They’re meant to be uplifting and to give thanks to those individuals and their heirs who have been willing to make this contribution to medical science.

I’d like to skip the ceremony, but I won’t.  I owe it to my mother to be there.  My mother was the strong one when I was growing up, and I’m pretty sure I never returned the love as well as I should have.

I’m pretty sure I’ll want to cry during the ceremony. But I won’t.  Because family members will be there who expect me to be the strong one.

Life sucks. And then it ends.

In between, the strong ones take care of the weaker ones and hope they never become weak themselves.

Praise be to wine. And puppies.  Neither cares whether people are weak or strong.

__________

I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com

__________

Image by Cordelia’s Mom

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52 Responses to It’s OK To Be Sad, Even If Other People Don’t Like It

  1. Victo Dolore says:

    Hugs to you, my friend.

    Like

  2. You should cry at your mother’s ceremony. I so understand the image we’ve built as being the strong ones. Let it go. And watch what happens. 💕 Trust me on this one, CM.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Van. I suppose the tears will come whether I want them to or not.

      Liked by 3 people

      • judyt54 says:

        You did what your mother wanted. I find it appalling that 1) they ‘finally’ are releasing her body and 2) are actually holding a memorial. You’ve paid your dues, and I really truly feel that if it were me I’d skip it. It just dredges up a whole wad of stuff, doesnt it.

        Of course, you’re not me. You may need that closure, and it might even help you.
        But it needs to be what you want, not what you think other people want of you. I think that’s important. And let the tears flow. You’ve earned that too.

        Like

        • The memorial service is just an offer – no one has to go. We were aware when we donated my mother’s body that there would be a memorial service at the end, if we wished. I think you’re right that I need the closure, so I do plan on attending.

          Like

  3. Elyse says:

    Your title sums it up nicely. Do what you need to do to get through the down period (short of that 35 story building, though, please).

    Years ago, a friend of mine was working with children with cancer. She commented to me “They are so strong!” It was one of the stupider things I’ve heard. OF course those of us who have health problems are stronger. Otherwise we wouldn’t survive. Duh!

    Sometimes the literal shit of our lives will get to us. And the ceremony for your mother will be one of those times. Let yourself grieve. Be a puddle if you need to be. Because while these diseases help us be strong, they don’t leave us unmovable or unbreakable.

    Hugs from someone who’s been there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Even the strong need support, and you aren’t weak if you ask for it.
    We tend to keep going, and then it will be something really silly that tips the balance. I’ve been there too. We all grieve in our own way and if you cry at your Mum’s service, sobeit. I’m sure you will feel her presence, just differently.

    Like

    • My mother was the strongest woman I knew, and years later I learned just how strong she really was. She hid a lot from her children. I guess I feel guilty that, like most children, I was so self-centered growing up.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. joey says:

    Praise be to puppies, indeed. Being strong is exhausting. If you’re not being strong as a matter of pride, let yourself go. People don’t know they need to help you. People don’t know how to help. Let them surprise you?
    Also, best wishes. What a difficult time for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My entire immediate family has opted to attend (which surprised the heck out of me). We’ll do a meal after, and everyone will get past it. It all just happened to hit at a time when a lot of other bad stuff is going on, and I felt momentarily overwhelmed.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Dan Antion says:

    It is hard to be strong, and we often don’t see the need that strong people sometimes have. I hope you can muster through this – hug that pup.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ladyryl says:

    Big, warm hugs and a nod of understanding…

    Like

  8. In the picture , the branches seem like they are trying to stretch up and shoo away the birds. Do trees get headaches…or would that be limb/trunk aches, I wonder)
    As the mother of a surgeon and who watched many of her friends go through training, I can only whisper courage to you – your mother chose a noble purpose. Humanity cannot thank you or her enough.

    Like

    • I understand the need for body donation, that’s why I’ll be doing it, too. I guess I just never thought about the after-effects. My dad also donated his body, and the same medical school had a ceremony for him (which I did not attend), but my mother’s death is affecting me more. I’ll get through it.

      PS: This particular photo was in my reject file, but then I thought, “Heck, let’s see what I can do with the software.” I’m quite pleased with the way it turned out.

      Like

  9. I can identify with your situation; I could body-double Frankenstein’s monster with the surgery scars I have. 11 pills per day. Next month I turn 59. “40 is the new 30!” etc. doesn’t cut it anymore.

    I keep several bible verses at the bottom of my prayer list. “Be strong & of good courage; do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 I’m never really alone.

    “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Prov. 15:13 Go ahead and be sad. It’s an honest emotion. Just don’t dwell there. There is life to be lived, friends who love you. Find/rediscover what you enjoy. Leave the rest, no matter how close they may seem to you. Lift your heart with the good things that remain.

    Like

  10. It’s surprising — not in a good way — how often as we age we find there is very little support for us. Not financial, not emotional, not in terms of helping out in the house or with chores. It’s a painful realization. And how each person deals with it? We’re all wired differently. We do the best we can.

    Like

    • Writing is my way of dealing. For others it might be photography or painting. And of course, for many others, there would be a spiritual solution. Somehow we each find our way to the other side of the darkness, at least most of the time.

      Like

  11. Vicky V says:

    Wow. I never thought about how donating your body to science would affect your family. I think the memorial service is an interesting idea. It may dredge up old memories and feelings but it could also bring closure.
    As for being the strong one, I’m always there to support others but rarely share my own troubles and weaknesses. So when I need support I get the “but you’re so strong” line. I might be cynical but I feel like it is code for “and I really don’t want to hear it!” Luckily I have a fabulous partner who listens, dogs who love to cuddle, a fridge full of tonic water and a bar stocked with gin 🙂
    I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts.
    And please keep writing. As well as being cathartic for you, I love reading your very interesting and diverse posts.

    Like

  12. Paul says:

    Ahhh, so very true CM. Thank you for sharing this – it helps me. But keep in mind that depression lies.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. AmyRose🌹 says:

    To hell what other people think, especially family. If you feel like crying at you mother’s service do it! This is your life, your emotions, and your mother. Stuffing those tears is not healthy, not in the least. And yeah it’s OK to be sad, CM. I’ve hit some pretty low spots lately myself and I am supposed to be the strong one. To hell with that too! I have a right to be afraid, to cry, to hurt. And so do you! BIG (((HUGS))) Amy ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

  14. Prior-01 says:

    hugs to you -<3
    and I know that emotions can be a layered topic and folks have so many views (and opinions) on sadness, depression, loss, getting by, work burnout, caregiver fatigue, exhaustion, etc.—
    but keep in mind that sometimes we are strong when we feel –
    especially when we feel.
    sometimes the sign of true health is this processing – and allowing the situation to be felt and then problem solving. Accepting and maybe finding one little nugget to help – and like Paul just noted above – "depression lies" – ooo I like that.
    but depression is also a carrier emotion because sometimes it is like a suitcase with anger, exhaustion, illness, stress, worry, and being sick and tired of being sick and tired….
    and feelings follow behavior so while we do process and vent, we do need to make sure it is in a limited (helpful way) and then brought into check. But in my experience, it is the "strong ones" who have problems with letting the suitcases get very full.

    I guess there was a generation that was taught only to soldier up and to be strong. And some say the upcoming generation might be entitled and wimpy. But where do draw the line. How do we know when to collapse and when to bury it? I think it really takes learning more and more about problem solving techniques and then finding ways to get some relief. Even if it is just making a short term plan – or looking at the bigger picture – that always helps me.
    Also, books have been a rescue – many times going to a book store or library has been key for some things I was chewing on.
    and support systems are so crucial. Like recently when our dog passed away unexpectedly – well in hindsight I see how each little share was my way of reaching out and getting a support system. and so your post here – well when you still left comments open – that shows so much about your heart.

    and when you nominated bloggers for the award early this year – yes, you have such a beautiful heart. And yes, life does kick us in the ass so many times – and it seems like some of us just have a "bad lot"- but there is still much beauty to be found. I guess i call it small beauty – and it is all around. I know it is hard when in the murky exhaustion phase – but look to God and cast your care on him because he will give you a peace in the midst of the storm. and seriously, without preaching too much, ha! – keep in mind that he can make the crooked way straight and just has a plan that really has more to than meets the eye.

    I will end with one quick story – k?

    in the 90's I had to work when my first son was little. Well such a long story, but I also worked in a restaurant so I could make big money in part-time hours on weekends. It was so hard leaving my son – and then the work was labor intensive. I felt like I was not using my degree and had to combat lots of negative thoughts – I vented a lot.

    But you know cookie cakes (wink) about ten years after this I saw so many benefits of that work. So many perks – and one of them was the physical activity – because I realized later that it kept me strong – getting out and doing that work. and I have heard other folks say this too – sometimes when they were forced to work – well it ended up giving them structure and keeping them in balance in a way they did not see.

    actually I could share more about how sometimes being forced to work (for the insurance, wage, etc.) well sometimes it is right where God wants us. I know it gets old and all that, but it can sometimes be so good for our mind and our psyche.
    For example, our neighbors have been displaced in their retirement for many years now. We have watched them – the first two years were maybe the best for them – but all this retired time is not always what it is cracked up to be – and even if it does have many perks – well keep in mind that your time to stop working will come in its time – and in the meantime I pray that the grace of God will carry and sustain you – and that He would give you his peace that passes all understanding.

    be encouraged – even though I know that being "sick and tired of being sick and tired" gets old – there are little things that can help the enduring days.
    and again, sending you a hug my sweet blog friend.

    Like

    • Thank you, Yvette. You really poured your heart into that comment. I’m much better now – writing it out helped, along with all the support from my readers. You’re right – my generation was taught to just deal with whatever came along. I was just thinking about that this morning – how today’s generation immediately turns to mood-altering drugs to handle even the smallest slight. I doubt that’s the better way.

      BTW, I think we would all love to hear your stories about your own struggles. If you ever wish to guest post (instead of writing on your own site), just send me an email: cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com. I would be honored to host you. Sometimes it helps to run a post through someone else’s site.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior-2001 says:

        Hi – thanks for the invite – you are so kind. and I am actually a very wide open book and I do share on my site – well I used to more on my last blog (the one that is now inactive) – but I can see that for some people it is better to share on another blog.
        I am actually finally getting ready to also make some books with some of my experiences – which I have had brewing since at least 2001. In 2001, I worked as counselor in Florida and I started the draft to a book about my experiences with that job. None of it was too personal – more the experiences – but my relfections. anyhow, the outline and notes have sat in a notbeook and it is just now feeling like it is time…
        I sometimes thought I might have taken too long, but honestly, life was busy and the time was just not right – so I have no regrets.

        oh and the very last thing – I probably would not want to guest post here because I do refer to God a lot – not a super religious person – but my relfections have that spiritual connection and I know that it NOT everyone’s cup of tea – you know what I mean?
        xxoo

        Like

        • While I personally am not religious, my guest posters often refer to God. Don’t let that prevent you from guest posting here if you wish. The offer remains open, Yvette.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Prior-2001 says:

            thanks my friend – and side note – I am not realy the “religious” type either – prefer to just say more spritual if that makes sense.
            But it usually sounds like the same thing to many people – yet I feel it is the religious type of crap that is what KEEPS PEOPLE AWAY from God and away from faith. but don’t want to even get started on that….
            ha!
            anyhow, I accept and would love to guest post – I will email you – ok?
            and thanks for the offer – 🙂

            Like

  15. Laura says:

    Sending hugs your way. No, you don’t always have to be the strong one. This is your MOM’S SERVICE, you do whatever you need to do & everyone else can suck it up.
    So sorry this is weighing on you. Dealing with your mom’s service is enough; you don’t need pressure from family, too. 💛

    Like

    • You’re right, Laura. Although the pressure from the family is not about my mother’s service, it’s about me saying I felt like jumping off a building. Now that I’m past the extreme shock and depression, I’m a bit amused by the fact that this particular family member had made the same comment to me last year, and I immediately went into mommy mode to make her feel better. I guess mothers simply aren’t allowed to show sadness.

      Like

  16. lbeth1950 says:

    Sometimes people think we are strong when we are just proud and stubborn. It’s not necessarily a good way to be, is it? Hope things ease up for you.

    Like

  17. Big hug to you, CM. ʕ ⊃・ ◡ ・ ʔ⊃ Thank God for wine and puppies. (•‾⌣‾•)و ̑̑♡

    Like

  18. ~ Sadie ~ says:

    YES, even us “strong” people get sad, and might even show it – just freaks those who look at us as strong out a little bit . . .{{sending you hugs}} & hoping you are feeling better soon 🙂 AND yes, sometimes life definitely sucks, but most days it sure beats the alternative 😉 THIS too shall pass . . .

    Like

    • Things are ok now. It was an isolated episode. Writing helped, and so did receiving a text from one of my kids immediately after she read the post – the text simply said, “You know we’re here for you, right?” Nothing is better than knowing your offspring actually do care.

      Liked by 1 person

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