What makes you sad – I know what makes me sad

I daydreamed just now about being at the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, outside Alioto’s restaurant, inching through a persistent crowd to buy a foot-long shrimp sandwich from the sidewalk stall — taking that sandwich and a cold drink to the concrete  bench across the street, and watching a swarm of pigeons swirl around as I gobble up my favorite sandwich. Happy thought, isn’t it? But then, I felt sad, because that’s what my husband and I often did on many weekends when he was alive – ride the train to SF and jump on the bus just to have that big shrimp sandwich at the wharf, sometimes with fried calamari or zucchini. I never did that again since he passed two years ago, and that made me sad.

Yesterday, I listened to music shared by friends on FB, sentimental renditions of romantic Italian songs by Il Volo that my husband and I loved to listen to. Il Volo singers are superb. In the fashion of Neapolitan minstrels, their voices enthrall, woo and inspire. But sadness hovered when “O Solo Mio” was sung. That reminded me of my husband who used to charm me with love songs in his wonderful tenor voice. As I listened, I thought, “I’m solo”. And I became sad.

Last weekend, my son and daughter-in-law were teaching their eight-year-old son to play scrabble. He learned quite fast and quickly picked up the technique of crisscrossing and connecting words with a few letters. I am so proud of this smart boy. I told him that his Lolo (Grandpa) often beat me at this game by using all of his seven letters at a single play, and I marveled at how skillful he was with arranging his tiles strategically on the board. Then, I felt sad, I lost my scrabble mate. I wonder if he’s sporting his talent at tournaments with the angels and saints.

The approaching Easter Sunday reminds me of when I was a little girl, Mama would make me jump from a chair to the floor several times at Easter dawn. I first thought it was a game – but in the very early morning? Why couldn’t Mama wait till the sun was higher up? Then, I later learned that the custom was best executed at dawn to work its purpose of having the jumping little girl grow tall when she grows up. But wait a minute – wasn’t my 30-year-old auntie jumping with me? Did she hope to increase her 5-foot stature? My family loves height – considering that most of the girls are below 5’2”. One is at 5’3”, and she proudly towers above us all. I’m 5’2” (going on 5’1 and a half). My leaps weren’t enough. Mama should have made me jump some more. Ah yes, Mama … I miss her. She passed November of last year, a month shy of 101 years of age. I’d like to think she’s cheering for my husband as he attempts to beat the angels at scrabble. Even so, I felt sad.

Today, I checked my stocks. Aweful! I cried. Not just because my money is melting away, but because someone else used to watch those for me, and he’s gone. When he did, I didn’t bother whether they were up or down, because he used to say, just be patient, they’ll come back up again. This time, no one’s consoling me that way, so I was sad. Darn those stocks … they’re slipping so fast. Angry tears now. What’s wrong with the market! Frenzied sorrow hit, this time for me. A flicker of light in the tunnel — news about the companies that own those stocks are promising; not sure, though, if I should believe them. My personal finance counselor long gone would know. I got sad again.

I look out my window at home and see a young mother pushing her baby in a carriage, with a toddler ambling by her side. I remember my son and daughter when they were little. How I enjoyed pushing them in a carriage with two tiny cushioned seats beside each other. Folks often asked if they were twins. I was always tempted to say yes. They’re 13 months apart in age. Really looked like twins when they were very young. So adorable. Now, they’re grown, both married, and one with a son of his own. But I still think of them as my babies. They visit me periodically, and we Facetime occasionally. At times, I want to hug them or have them just near, but they’re in their own homes far away. When I miss them, I’m sad.

But hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m often not sad. Overall, I’m fine and dong well, thank you. I like to think of myself as an upbeat person, always looking for the bright side of life. Because I look, I find it. Fun, beauty and joy surround us. For every tear are some myriad delights. I am ever grateful for the blessings bestowed on me and my family. God’s grace and favors abound. So much to be joyful and thankful for.

After the rainy blues fall, there’s always sunshine that propels through the clouds. What makes you sad may be the same that makes you smile or laugh tomorrow. Or maybe, you’ll find the humor and the joy that eluded you at first from the memories. Or maybe, tomorrow will be better than today. Take heart!  I do.

Linda P. Jacob

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