Sunday, August 9, 2009

Rollercoaster Riding

About a month ago my son and I took my five-year-old granddaughter to a nearby amusement park. In a moment of sheer lunacy, the two of us adults decided to ride not one, but two of the most terrifying roller coasters in the whole place, back-to-back. It now seems like a fit of masochism. If you're already unhappy, does it make sense to make yourself more miserable?

He immediately threw up after the second ride. I didn't fully realize the rides' physical effect on me until the next day when I woke up and could barely move. I'm way too old and my spine is far too beat up already to be jostled around and strained so hard. I thought I was going to have to get a cane just to walk around, or crawl on my hands and knees. Why did I go on those rides? What was I thinking?

It has now been two months since my husband passed away. The problem of "thinking straight" is a daily one I face. "Don't get too depressed," friends advise. Right. "Think positive." You betcha.

My problem when it comes to "thinking positive" these days is exacerbated by the fact that this is the 40th anniversary of the time when my husband and I were dating and falling in love. (Cue music: "The Way We Were.")

This summer also marks my 40th high school reunion, the 40th anniversary of Armstrong walking on the moon, the Manson murders and yes, even Woodstock. Of course I remember all of these events well, and I remember experiencing them, from a distance, in Idaho, with my late husband, all the while in a pastel haze of happy young love. (Cue music: "So Happy Together," by the Turtles.)

I would rather not dwell so much of that time right now, but it pops up in the media all the time. Dandy.

It seems like my life now it is down to only the simple things that can cheer me
up. Last night, for instance, was the first time in a week that I finally got
a good night's sleep. Lack of sleep, needless to say, does not contribute to a sense of well being and thus, "thinking straight."

I mentioned in my last post the comfort I find in sleeping with my dogs since my husband passed. Well, last week that all went to hell because it is skunk season here. Every August my big, male German Shepherd, Ben, kills a skunk, or at least, tries to. His personal, annual skunk war is now five years running.

So due to the annual skunk attack, I couldn't sleep with my dogs for about a week, therefore, I didn't sleep well at all, and neither did they. If you have ever had a dog get "skunked," then you know what I'm talking about. Everyone has been grouchy around here.

Last night the skunk smell was finally sufficiently subdued to where we could all peacefully cuddle again. I feel fairly good this morning. I slept well. Pure relief. Thank God.

Up and down, up and down; that's the pattern of my life these days. Mostly misery and sometimes, relief. Joy is a thing of the past.

As we have always known, it is the simple things, the little things, like food and shelter, that can ultimately bring us the greatest pleasure in life, and likewise, the lack of such, that can make us suffer most. Ever watched "Survivor?"

And I'll tell you what else I know: The worst roller coaster I've ever ridden in my life is the one I'm on right now.

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