The (Un)Happy Dance of June
Unlike Snoopy’s happy dance, June can rob me of motivation to do much more than take slow motion baby steps forward.
Do you ever dread stepping into a certain month?
Never would I have imagined that an entire month would challenge my contentment the way June has for the last 12 years.
This year, especially.
In the last year, life presented unexpected turns, obstacles, and transitions with many plates still spinning in the air.
Despite some tough times, days rolled along pretty well until June knocked on the door…
The reality of a big birthday this year.
The realization that a dozen years have passed without my Dad present.
12 birthdays without him —
the anniversary of his death four days before my birthday.
his memorial service was held on my birthday.
Father’s Day occurs just after my birthday.
For some reason this year presents challenges. Probably because I have so desperately needed his love, presence, wisdom, encouragement, and humor over the last several years.
This June also marks the 10th anniversary of the tragic passing of an entire family who were friends and deeply involved and beloved in our church community.
One of my dear friends has a similar relationship with May.
Every year for the last nineteen years, she has faced her son’s birthday, the anniversary of his untimely and tragic death, and Mother’s Day, all in the same month.
Her only child. Unfathomable grief.
We’ve had several discussions this year about deep breaths, steady steps, and forward movement over time.
What to Do
Maybe you don’t have an entire month that steps on your contentedness or halts your happy dance.
Maybe a certain day or hour causes a lack of happy.
We all travel through this life with a variety of experiences and heartaches.
What are steps we can take when faced with anniversaries that bring sad reminders of loss or pain. How do we dig in and gain a bit of contentment and a measure of happiness during these times?
It takes time. Remember your experience is yours and you move through grief over time and in your own way…eventually the raw pain dissipates and you learn to live in a new reality with space for the heartache.
Look back over your life memories. Reflect on the happy and loving times you shared with this special person/people. This also takes time to get to the place of thinking about him or her without a gut-wrenching blow. Eventually, there will be a time and space to reflect on all you shared. You will eventually smile, laugh even, at the treasures stored in your memory.
Consider where you are. Right now. Before you let the months step on your contentedness and interrupt life’s happy dance, be prepared. You learn what timeframes or dates might trigger a drop in your happyometer. There are often times, events, or songs that unexpectedly raise emotions and you can’t plan for them all but you CAN plan for some. Gather your buddies, your community. Ask for listening ears, prayers, and plans for activities to keep you busy and involved with others.
Solo time offers some healing but take care with isolation and keep people close who lovingly point it out to you and help you re-engage in life.
Give others, and yourself, lots of grace. It takes a while and is difficult, but choose optimism and believe that people mean well. Most of them, anyway!
Let’s commit to try the Snoopy happy dance in the midst of our individual life realities. Even if we can only do two little toe taps, that is something! Each day let’s put a tiny bit more happy into the unhappy trials of life. We can do this!