Persistent Underlying Sorrow

by Maria
(El Paso, TX USA)

My father died 2011, in June. I bought a guitar in january 2011 hoping to learn to play with my husband, so I could play for my Dad. The day he died I haven't touched that guitar. My husband keeps telling me to play but it holds nothing for me now. My Dad is gone and I did all I could but he had kidney failure and he didn't want to live anymore. He stopped treatment and then he died. Because I was so busy taking care of my family, I couldn't be there for him all the time.

I am sad that I haven't been able to help my two autistic sons have more productive lives. One works at a job, which is good. He still lives with us so he doesn't have to stress about life expenses.

The other one is more severe. We've been trying to get him disability for two years. I just want it so he can spend it on some college. He loves to learn. He wants to help children. The church ignored his request to work in the nursery so he could get some experience.

My other sons, one is trying to get into the military, he has ADD but stopped taking the medicine over a year ago. I'm in charge of helping him. I'm in charge of all my sons. I get flak if something doesn't go according to plan. I get flak if the house isn't clean enough.

I'm in charge of the finances. We just took a huge paycut this year. Like many Americans. But everytime someone asks me if they can buy this or that, it comes down to me. they ask me. I have no job. Just a mom. so it's not really my money, so I can't say no.

I never ask for anything. I feel like I have failed everyone.

My youngest son has trouble in school, I'm the one who had to go to all the meeting alone, and take him to the psychiatrist. And get all his phone calls saying the medicine was making him sick. and finally take him off the medication so he could go to school and not get sick.

I'm in charge of everyone's emotional health, physical health..everything. And there's no one there for me. They used to get irritated if I went to see my Dad. I sometimes feel like getting out of bed at night and walking into the desert and not coming back. but it would make my family sad. that's the only reason I don't do it.

Mary,

You bear the pain of sadness over the death of your father. Alongside, you lead a busy life, managing the home, its finances and emotionally helping every member of your family. All you get in return are complaints and the pressure of making decisions, where you don't even know if you are right.

Your sadness will wane over the years. You are evidently a pillar of strength for your family and your reward can only be your inner knowledge of the truth - that you did your best. As we pass through life in a few short years, all we can do is to try and do our best. Feel assured that you are doing just that. Still the guilt messages, which bother you.

Leading a busy life, with so many responsibilities thrust on you, you need to find joy in life. Set your goal to be the improvement of your performance of each of your daily tasks. They call it Mindfulness. When you have a goal, the nervous system sends dopamine to your forebrain, granting you energy and vitality. If you focus on doing each job better, any improvement in your performance will reinforce your interest in life. Spare a little time to learn to play the guitar well. Whatever life throws at us, we should be able to say I was happy and did my best.

Editor

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NEED MORE?

For my peace of mind, I earmarked 20 minutes for meditation on the terrace. With my eyes closed, I sense my hands on the chair and feel the numbness in my feet.

I feel my breath flowing through my nose, my throat, my chest and my stomach. I can hear the chirping of birds, the phut phut of auto rickshaws, the occasional roar of a truck and the insistent hooting of horns.

When I open my eyes, I see a pale moon over two hundred thousand miles away. I see the nuclear fires, blazing for millions of years in the pale globe of the setting sun. A star millions of miles away in space.

I can see green shoots coming up on a tree, watch the dives and swoops of birds, the great circles of the hawks and flocks of birds flying home for the night.

Diffused light from the sun reflects off a parrot on the tree and enters my eye through a pinhole opening. I sense the bustling mood of the bird, even though it is smaller than a drop of water in my eyes.

All these things are seen and felt by me in a few brief minutes. In the distance, is the head of a man seeming to be no bigger than a pea. Yet, that head too sees and feels such things. Ten million people in this great city see and feel in ten million ways.

My mind wanders to a misty view of postwar London; an exciting glimpse of Disneyland. An awed view of Tiananmen Square. The looming Himalayan ranges. My mind takes me to distant galaxies.

It carries me into the heart of millions of invisible neurons, where electrical charges flash thousands of times a second powering my contemplation. I see the campaigns of Julius Caesar and Alexander. I feel the longings of Jehangir.

Already my mind has taken me to palaces, battlefields and even the stars. And yet, the 20 minutes hang heavily on me. If I lost everything, but can just see and feel, in just a few brief minutes, my mind can travel the world, or imagine the cosmos.

Life has already blessed me with over twenty million waking minutes. I have an infinity of time on my hands. Have I a right to expect more from life?

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