I’ve been called “Sister Mary Sunshine” when I deliver bad news. As an accountant, my job has often been to “deliver the no” that no one wants to hear.
Once on Facebook I was “unfriended” just after she accused me of “blowing Catholic sunshine up people’s skirts!” I have since used more caution when voicing my opinions everywhere including social media.
We are what we are yet I don’t think people realize how much we control our reactions to circumstances surrounding us. I don’t care how good someone else’s life looks to you, they are facing demons all of the time.
For those of you who do not know me, and I’m “meeting” new people everyday via social media, I am the daughter of 1st and 2nd generation Italian American parents. Dad was a car dealer and beloved in our community and my mother (still lives 10 minutes from me) was the ultimate wife and mother. She entertained for my dad and kept an immaculate home. She taught me to cook, but, even more important, she taught me the importance of family and connection.
I married my college sweetheart (he was actually the first guy I met at Freshmen Orientation in (shudder) 1976). We have been married since 1980 and are the parents of two boys. Tommy was born in 1984 and was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Vessels in Buffalo. We flew him to Philadelphia when he was a week old for new surgery. He developed a seizure disorder and passed away just short of his 4th birthday.
That was life changing for me and for my husband. The person you most want sympathy from is the least able to help. We did some counseling but lived the struggle mostly alone.
Our son Anthony was born 2 1/2 years after Tommy’s passing and while the boys never knew each other we have managed to keep Tommy real to Anthony by always talking about things he did, foods he liked and what made him him.
The death of a child sort of alters your DNA. You are forever changed. Years later, looking back I realized it took about 7 years for me to feel real joy again. You know what I mean…that bounce down the steps “what’s up today?” sort of feeling. Not a feeling of emptiness but a feeling of potential slowly restored my heart.
Since then my father passed and that was tough but unfortunately the correct order. When my brother died at the young age of 48 that threw me for a loop. Oh God! Not seven more years? A little more than a year later my 95 year old grandmother died and that was when I got help.
I went to a counselor who helped me help myself. Face it, that’s what a good therapist does…helps you remember the tools that get you through all kinds of situations. Also, a good counselor knows when to push you out of the nest. I am forever grateful for this.
And what did I learn?
I learned we control only ourselves. We control our actions to others actions and victims are not attractive. Crappy things happen to you every day on one level or another. We choose to react to them any way we wish.
So, I decided to live my life knowing that the glass is half full. I work hard to find the silver lining behind the dark cloud.
Somedays I fail. But, that’s ok. I tried and that’s what makes my glass half full.
On my birthday in 2015 I was having lunch by myself (I love dining alone, by the way) in SoHo at Balthazar Restaurant when gratitude overwhelmed me. People put off doing things for a 1,000 reasons but at that moment I realized I was living someday today. Right there with my Stags Leap Chardonnay I got on my phone and purchased the domain. It’s been nearly a year but here we are, Living Someday Today!
Please share your positive Living Someday Today moments, too. Monologues are boring…dialogues are fun!
So, if you want to follow Sister Mary Sunshine as I blow Catholic sunshine up people’s skirts jump in and play along!