Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pretend Happiness

I've read similar thoughts all over the internet.

Act like you're happy and it will happen.
Fake it until you make it.

That's exactly what we're trying over here at the Wilson residence. While it's a hair easier than it was December 5, 6, 7, 8th... it's still the pits. It's still the pits that we're sad and will always be jaded by something that is supposed to be so natural and beautiful. We both admit that although we're smiling at others, laughing, and engaging like somewhat normal beings post tragedy, we're still broken inside. Our glasses are half empty. Some days I feel like they're pretty close to empty actually.

This isn't something a simple bandaid can fix or even another child can mend. We lost some of ourselves, our identities and what we perceived life to be about {joy, love, experience} on that very cold December day.

We lost the innocence that new parents have.
We lost the pureness of what would have been.
We lost the freshness of morning {as we'll always have a small dark cloud in our sky}.
We lost the beauty of childbirth {now riddled with guilt, concern, and trepidation}
We lost the newness {we've already experienced our first childbirth and it was tragic, disturbing, devastating}.
We lost our firstborn son.

But still we carry on. Smiling as though we aren't cautiously walking with one foot in front of the other, nervous of the hole we might fall in if we aren't careful. Laughing as though we're carefree. Carrying forward because there is simply no other option.

I'm smiling for a few reasons:
  • I'm tired of others looking at me with those grief eyes. I hate them (the eyes, not the people).
  • I know that if I do, my outlook will change, at least for brief moments.
  • I'll attract happiness. Those who frown, complain, become frustrated tend to attract that behavior in others. I don't need another reason to frown and I don't need help feeling sad.
  • The psychological fakeout. I believe I read somewhere about how smiling signals your brain to be happy. Fake or not, it's worth a shot.
We understand just as I posted here that though we have been dealt something unbearable, we must make the decision of how to handle the circumstances. Only the strong will survive and the meek will fail. For all that is whole and sane, and in honor of Andrew, we are pretending happiness.

Why isn't "pretending" quite like what it was as a child? Playing "house" or "school" seemed without hurt or suffering. No one died when you pretended to be a mom. Babies didn't die before they were born or die before reaching adulthood. Shoot. While playing house, no one ever died.

Though we're able to find some goodness in life, I'm not sure I totally believe my once favorite clothing line motto, "Life is Good"-- because sometimes it's just not. Perhaps I can scratch out my hat and pieces of clothing into "Life is Sometimes Good" instead of wearing a lie. And to be honest, my days have been better, but I don't know about good. As good as I'd be if my son were here, impossible. They will never be 100% good again. I'm hoping to increase the percentages as we carry forward, but it's been really tough to hit a passing score. Sometimes we just have to pretend.

And spoken from our favorite elephant from Horton Hears a Who, "A person's a person, no matter how small." {taken from a fellow BLM blog}

That little person I think of everyday and fake it just to make it is our little Andrew. No matter how small or how long he lived, he still holds a special place in our hearts.


Molly said... [Reply to comment]

I sure wish I had your positive outlook. I tried yesterday, but it's not working for me today. I was discussing the small dark cloud that will always be in the sky of a BLM with my grief counselor today. I can hug hug hug my daughter and feel sooooo much happiness, and about 1 second later, I realize that the moment isn't quite perfect bc a big piece of our puzzle is missing. And then reality sets in about how awful our situations are. I would love to act happy so it will happen, but I think it makes me feel worse at times (or at least later). I just can't seem to force it upon myself. I know the sun will shine again one day (soon, I hope), but it just isn't right now. My counselor says the fact that I want to be happy means I'm progressing. I sure hope so 'cause it's raining over here today. I hope you are able to keep smiling!! :)

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

I'm a faker too. I hope one day I won't need to try as hard. :)

Keleen said... [Reply to comment]

I found myself nodding along the whole time I read this post, you couldn't have said it better! All the millions of times I played house growing up no one ever died's not something we think/want to prepare ourselves for. Great post, it's just what I needed to read today :)

Newlywed Next Door said... [Reply to comment]

I guess you feel the same way I do. Sucks...

I'm doing the joyful task of settling all my insurance bills - hundreds of dollars spent for "nothing" it feels like. Today I was on the phone with a nice BCBS customer service guy about setting a bill from my CVS in my early pregnancy and he asked how my pregnancy was going. It was awkward and then I cried. I wish someone would do all my medical bill stuff for me.