I am the fifth child out of six. I am the third girl, out of three. I am the only living sister. Both of my sisters have died very young. My brothers now tease me mercilessly about when I will die. Hopefully not soon, as I wish to taunt them as long a possible.
Yesterday, I turned 41. My middle sister died during her 40th year. My sister Leslie killed herself on Mother's Day. I am not sure if it was a conscious decision or if it was just a consequence of drinking herself into a stupor that night. I am sure that what ever pain she felt about her job as a parent drove her to drink that night.
My sister's life was sprinkled with periods of happiness the way that most peoples' lives are sprinkled with rough patches or periods of sadness. My sister spent her whole life trying to hide from what ever demons haunted her. She started to drink when she was a tween, and really, never stopped. It destroyed her marriage, her children and basically her life. Her ability to cope with the pain of life was definitely outstripped by the amount of pain she felt.
As I think about her life, I wonder, are some people just programed to be unhappy? Just like some of us are tall or short, fat or thin. Perhaps happy and sad are just part of our chemical make up. Perhaps we have less control over it than I would like to believe. Who would choose to be unhappy? Just as, who would choose to be fat, and I speak as someone in the know about this, it isn't so easy to change.
That said, Leslie, was the unhappy child in the family. That was her job. Just as mine it is to be the one who has life by the balls and makes it happen. Perhaps she had been unhappy for so long, the thought of actually being happy was overwhelmingly frightening to her. Perhaps she had viewed herself as depressed for so many years, she was comfortable there and didn't really want to change.
I don't know if happiness is something we choose or something that is. I choose to be happy. I choose to make the best of everything, in as much as I can. Is that because I am a happy person? Or is it because I try my hardest to let things go and move on to a happier place, to be as positive as possible? I don't know if we will ever really know the answer to that, but as I enter the next year in my life, I am going to choose to make it happier than last year, and by gosh, do not stand in my way!