I had planned to write this week about how little moments of joy can be such a huge help in our healing as survivors. I had planned to explain further why I chose my Irish heritage, and the ability to enjoy life even in the midst of horrible suffering as the theme for this month’s Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.
I had planned all of that, right up until this weekend.
This weekend, we went out of town to gather with family near and far, for my grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. As you might imagine, my grandmother was asked her advice for living a long life, and something she said put this whole idea into a far greater perspective than I could ever hope to offer. Among telling us about how she always drinks tea, eats soup, and enjoys a little chocolate every day, my grandmother also added one more thing. “And, have a good time”.
I had to smile as I thought of all the things my grandmother has had to live through in her lifetime. The Depression, wars, illnesses, the loss of a child and a husband, but also the many weddings, births, and other celebrations that have been part of our family through the years. She’s seen more and lived through more than I will ever know, and through all of it, she manages to still find time to enjoy life. Even at 90, she can still throw out one-liners with the rest of the family, always capable of giving everyone a good laugh. (If you know that side of my family, you know that getting a word in edgewise amidst the jokes and other commentary is no small feat, at any age! I can only assume we all get that from her!)
So, as I think back to my plans to write about how important it is to have something joyful to look forward to as part of our healing, no matter how small it may be, I can’t think of a better way to explain it than to share with you the wisdom of my grandmother. Overcoming an abusive childhood is difficult, healing is hard, hard work, full of pain and anguish. If, in the midst of all of that, you can still find a way to have a good time, you are on your way to a great life, no matter how unrealistic that may seem at the moment. Keep at it, and keep enjoying what you can!