Sadness, Depression, Grief, The Deep Struggles of Life
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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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Sadness, Depression, Grief, The Deep Struggles of Life

Let’s get personal about the issues of sadness, depression, and grief.  I can see these things playing out in my family – my parents, siblings, in-laws, my children, my nieces and nephews. These sensations are not all-or-nothing.  There seem to be degrees of sadness, a continum.  My personal life has covered the spectrum.  I believe today that my greatest joy is ahead of me – and my greatest sadness is waiting for me to come around the corner.  My life continues to play out.  For those who do not know me I am a senior, not yet elderly, physically healthy, educated, intelligent, and scared to walk around the corner.

Nature or nurture?  We hear people ask if their depression is natural or causal.  Most counselors would agree that both behavior and chemistry play roles in upsetting our balance of happiness.  The big pharmaceuticals are working on the chemistry – as individuals we can address the behavior.  Or can we? A seemingly insignificant chemical imbalance with environmental trauma can be a cocktail of doom. Add these event up, year after year, and trauma can become the norm.  Sorting out cause and effect is like un-baking a cake.

My life has been one of the greatest of joys and the deepest of grief and sadness.  I have hiked mountains and rafted the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon – crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoyed the view from the Eiffel Tower – exciting and exhilarating experiences relatively few get to experience. In forty-five years I have lived with three different women.  Each of them brought great joy and horrendous grief into my life.  The joy and the grief were all the result of personal choices by the people involved.  I have lived in Camelot and in the siege of Stalingrad.  My life has known the best of friends and the worst of enemies.

The greatest adventures pale in comparison to the birth of my first child – a girl that changed my life forever.  It was 1972 and I was a young and unwitting chauvinist.  I had wanted a son for no reason other than my ignorance.  Two years later my son was born.  I had wanted another girl just like my oldest – because there could not possibly be anything better than that little girl.  I hold that opinion yet today.  She is precious in every way and has brought me the greatest joys of my life.

My son is pretty special too – but I reflect now that most of the energy of my adult life was for that first girl.  This was not planned but it seems that she and I gravitated toward each other.  I helped her when she needed help and she helped me when I needed help.  She and I shared our lives in a way that was not present with my other two children.  This is a reality that I did not recognize until I lost her. She was not lost to disease or accident – she was lost to the mean and hateful tyranny of fear, obsession, poverty, anger, and ignorance.

Children are the enigmas of life.  Great joy.  Great sadness.  Grandchildren are the same.  There is nothing so powerful as one’s child.  I failed to recognize the converse – the power of the parent in the life of the child.  When grief and fear and ignorance and poverty came knocking I answered with the double barrel of anger.

Now I don’t know what to do.  When we grow and learn and mature we look back at the mistakes of the past.  Some we can amend, some we cannot.  I am confident that my anger has brought misery into the lives of people that I barely knew – or did not know at all – like the clerk at the convenient store.  I cannot go back in time and fix those wrongs – I can only use those experiences to try to be a better person today – to motivate me to practice love and tolerance.  I suppose there is some element of amend in that.

But I do not know what to do about those events that separated me from loved ones.  Pride factors in.  It is hard to say, “I am sorry for what I did”, without the follow-up of, “but you were bad too”.  Why do we need to add crust to the humble pie with a jab at another?  That probably has to do with pride and some lack of faith in an honest admission of wrong doing.

Life is too complex.  What if I believe my position was correct but my expression of my righteousness was horrendous?  How do I say, “I will admit I was wrong in my actions if you admit that I was actually right”? Nonsense.  The grief and misery of life will continue as long as we want it to.

The grief and misery will end when we put aside the actions of others and take responsibility only for our own behavior.

Are you ready yet?

There Is 1 Response So Far. »

  1. Such a true story for, if not all of us, many many human beings. As parents, most of us are in love with the child merely because it was born. Without any grand action, other than surviving birth, they are loved so deeply and completely and with such a force as to be also one of the scariest moments of our lives. As time goes by, we attach expected behaviors to this love. I love you but……….

    Without becoming the most wise elder of time, I can say that I have had to learn (in some cases still learning)a lot of forgiveness, a lot of asking for forgiveness and tolerance in many instances. The art of ‘Loving Anyway’ isn’t difficult to do, it’s just difficult to begin.
    Gary, I truly wish that my Daughter had the Fatherly love I believe you showed your girl and the way I saw your Dad with your Sister, even the way he was with me. Her Father,learned later in life (almost to late) that she is and has been such a treasure. Our boys were great bonuses in our life, but not anymore important than she.

    Men have often considered a son to be the ultimate height of ‘that’s what I want’ in life. Nothing exclusive, just a fact of life. Having grown up with many sisters, I early on declared that I wanted only sons. I ironically married into a family of brothers and one sister. Quickly saw that ‘This is a Man’s World’ could be less than fun. God knew best and my second child of four was a daughter. She was and is my heart and would go to war (she did) with a big stick to protect her younger brothers.
    Life is strange and she, the one who would be such a great mother, was unable to have children. So, the children of my Sons have been a focus for her and them, because she can see what is needed as she isn’t enclosed in the forest.
    Good, Bad, Ugly Life prevails, those of us who can find the peace of ‘Love Anyway’ are Blessed. Life has turned around on me at the moment and I find myself holding my oldest Son’s hand, once again, to protect and lead him to safety. Cataracts growing like a wildfire have left him with no sight except light and shadows. I believe that God has intervened and lead he and I to this point. So, we both may re-examine the importance of each other.