Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Memory of Joy

It is not the current measure of sadness that causes such great pain in my day to day life. It is not the reiteration of emptiness or loneliness. It is not the realization of horror.

Remembering what once was... remembering the good, the great, the love, the sweetness, the special memories, the sense of home, and the humor - those are the things that deeply wound. Those are the catalysts of pain.

The memory of joy is the most painful. It's a thought bubble, a daydream, a pleasant memory that brings a smile to the face - and then POOF! It's gone. And I am left with utter despair. A void that is dark, cold, and shocking. It almost echoes with eerie hollowness. It almost vibrates with bone crushing pain. 

The beautiful memories of joy, smiles, and laughter... the cozy and comforting hum of every day life as I knew it... the beckoning call of the little things I had grown used to... They are what keep me from listening to certain songs, looking at certain photos, going certain places. The memory of joy is so drawing, so appealing... and yet, I know the blow of pain will hurt so much I just can't go there. 

I feel these feelings and think to myself: Thank God I have the life I have, and not some other life. Thank God I have the outlook I have, and not some other outlook. Thank God I know the people I know, and not some other people. It makes so much difference. I'm not sure how I'd ever get through.

I came home from work to a beautiful and loving card and gift from my friend/co-worker Cheyenne. I had a great early birthday dinner with my parents, complete with laughter and tears. I came back home to affectionate cats. My phone bleeps with text messages every day. My weeks are full of hugs. My blog is read. There is always balm for my sore heart.

I'm so, so, so tired. No amount of sleep can give me rest. No amount of rest can soothe my soul. But day after day, no matter how exhausted I become, there is always someone to help me keep moving with a smile. 


  1. Try to look at both sides of the coin: it's true that the memory of the moments of joy can make you feel pain... but it's also true that pain can be muffled thinking about all the joy that was there, which was beautiful, truly, real, and that in any case the joy could be present in your future, even if in other shapes and modes.

  2. I have been reading your blog most every day. My husband died about a year after yours, so I read a year behind - matching your grief timetable with mine, so to speak. So many of your posts have resonated very powerfully for me. This one hit hard and sent me off my chair in search of kleenex. It's so true - the memory of joy is the most painful. I also connect with you in that I am not a widow who will give up. I am searching for a meaningful life and I suppose I am pretty strong and handling my loss well, whatever that means. I'm a good bit older than you - 59, but in my mind, we are good friends. I'm thankful for your blog.

    1. Thank you so much, Denise. It does my heart good to know that you are gathering strength and meaning from my words. I am sorry you have had to go through similar emotions and days, but I know how much it can help to know that someone gets it! What a compliment that you consider us good friends. That truly touches me. And age is nothing but a number - I turn 31 in 3 days, but whether you are 59, 29, or 99, you can be a friend of mine! I have friends of all ages and experience has made me a good bit "older" than my years here on earth. Take gentle care and I'll be thinking of you. Write any time.


Help me feel less alone.