I wonder whether you can have a sad happiness? Or a happy sadness?
Today the force of opposing feelings started to put pressure on my emotional dam. The emotional dam I had created to pen in all the chaos of my mind, inside my heart so that I could take a ‘holiday’ from reality.
The first crack burst forth as my friend held me, told me how proud she was of me for coming. Leaving her and her family who have provided comfort, compassion and safe haven makes me feel so incredibly vulnerable. If ever there were a couple or family that have known tragedy and over come it, not just once or twice, but multiple times, and able to show empathy, mixed with tenderness, kindness, patience and sensitivity, they are it.
So this happy sadness comes from the sweet sweet sorrow of parting company but also from the gratitude for the happiness they have bestowed on and brought out in me and the boys.
I held back the sobs I could feel below the surface as the taxi pulled away and as we headed to one of my favourite cities, Cape Town and the waterfront.
But in the end, it all became just a little too much to hold in as I retraced the steps I had taken a dozen years previously after becoming newly, ecstatically, romantically engaged to the Big Man. My wonderful boys, left their bowls of fries and hurried immediately to my side. ‘Breathe Mummy, in and out,’ says Willy, just as I say to him and Tom stroking my hair, just as I do for him before he wipes away my tears with his serviette.
It was only a few moments, but a heartbreaking one. And enough of one, for a complete stranger to come over and just wrap her arms around me and whisper, “You are not alone. Support is all around you. Stay strong.”
So again, this happy sadness comes from a devastating sadness that it happened publicly and in front of my boys, for whom I am so steadfastly committed to being brave for. But also happy and proud of their kind and swift response, and that they also saw how a stranger can provide comfort to those in need of an act of kindness. A lesson I hope they remember.
Tomorrow, we leave the happiness and wonders we found in Cape Town as a family of 3 to return home. This time the sadness comes from the apprehension of facing the daily choices and decisions ahead of me and yet at the same time, the happiness is derived from a sense of personal pride that I had the courage to make this trip alone, and because I know I can continue to do it again, and again.
And that is strangely liberating and once again guiding me towards making my intentions and plans related to feelings rather than outcomes. So while I may be leaving happiness in South Africa both emotionally and personified, I intend to continue my pursuit of happiness without pause.