Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

40 Ways Aren’t Always Enough

I apologize to all Beyond Blue readers who took offense to my post, “40 Ways to Keep Your Lover.” I should have provided a qualifier that I was merely having fun with Paul Simon’s idea of linking directives to a list of female names. Some of them are important – laughing and praying—but I was sort of kidding about the casserole and all-day NFL.
Coming up next week, per the suggestion of our friend Larry Parker, I’ll be talking about divorce and depression: when, despite trying all sorts of things, a couple splits. And it is for the good.
And to reader Nillawafer, I am sincerely sorry for the loss of your husband. I will keep you in my prayers. I certainly was not trying to make depressed widows more depressed. On the contrary, I was trying to get the depressive to “break her face” (as I said in my Date Night video blog), to laugh, as I made light of a gospel reading that I truly didn’t understand. I realize that my attempts at wit can often offend, but unlike other aspects of Beyond Blue–interviews, videos, and blog topics that I’m able to revise according to reader input–my humor is staying as it is. Because it is a such an effective depression buster for me, and it’s a defense mechanism that has almost no side effects (sore stomach, that’s all). However, there are many reputable and resourceful blogs—I subscribe to a dozen myself–that don’t use humor, and therefore might not be at as risky to read if my attempts at comedy bring you down. I can guide you to those if you’d like.

  • Wisdum

    Re “my humor is staying as it is. Because it is a such an effective depression buster for me, and it’s a defense mechanism that has almost no side effects (sore stomach, that’s all).”
    ** You go girl! If the world needs anything now, it’s more laughter in Love! We take ourselves and everbody else, Way too seriously! In fact God doesn’t take any of this serious … If He/She did it would not exist ! (and that’s the problem with God’s sense of humor…nobody thinks it’s one dam bit funny … except God !)
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Larry Parker

    I love your humor, Therese. It may seem strange, but it actually has built up my trust in you and in this community — that we may think different things, yet laugh at the same ones. (Oh, how I miss Seinfeld … love Paul Simon, too …)
    Yet and still …
    When one contemplates going through an awful, just crushing loss like our friend nillawafer (and really, no matter what rocky roads I’ve traveled, what can be worse than losing a spouse too young, or a child?), I think of the Book of Job, and Job’s three visiting friends. (BEFORE they started saying what an awful guy Job must have been for G-d to do such terrible things to him.)
    Upon seeing Job bereft, having lost ALL of his children, having had his wife turn her back on him, and with his skin literally peeling off, they mourned silently with Job.
    For a week.
    As we should mourn silently with our online (((hugs))) for nillawafer.
    Sometimes, there’s just nothing you can say. Or, as Forrest Gump said in his childlike way in trying to contemplate the abuse suffered by his true love Jenny, “Sometimes, there’s just not enough rocks in the world,” to throw at the target of one’s despair.

  • Cully

    “–my humor is staying as it is. Because it is a such an effective depression buster for me, and it’s a defense mechanism that has almost no side effects (sore stomach, that’s all). However, there are many reputable and resourceful blogs—I subscribe to a dozen myself–that don’t use humor, and therefore might not be at as risky to read if my attempts at comedy bring you down. I can guide you to those if you’d like.”
    Thank God and thank You for understanding and offering help for those who aren’t up to laughing yet.

  • Frank

    Humor is a special tool in our toolbelt. Sometimes it comes out quirky or offensive (I’m not thinking of anything you said, Therese – I’m remembering my own bombs). But I’m glad I could see something humorous in the moment. And some of the best comedy routines rise out of the pathos. I couldn’t agree more about the comment about taking ourselves too seriously. I am really making a genuine effort to be frivilous and casual. I was far too button-downed for my own good. I can remember my boss referring to me as his resident free spirit – which was during my manic moments, I’m sure. But the rest of the time I suspect I was a huge FD – fuddy duddy.
    So smile and laugh every chance you get. I plan to do so also.
    But condolences to those experiencing loss. Truly…

  • Lynn

    An old boyfriend of mine, who was quite intelligent and serious quoted this person, I forget who he is , but this is the quote. A LITTLE NONSENSE NOW AND THEN IS RELISHED BY THE WISEST MEN. Many have accused me of never being serious, I am, but not alot. I love to laugh and I love to watch people that are laughing . It is contagious just like a yawn. condolenses are extended to those who are experiencing loss, but please remember the times when you have shared laughter with your lost loved one, those wonderful memories will always be with you to warm your heart. :)

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Without humor (Gods AND OUR PATHETIC ATTEMPTS, we areTRULY lost. ADD ME TO THE LIST OF THOSE WHO ENJOY YOUR SKEWED WIT,THERESE,perhaps because my own is so off the wall at times…One of my LEASTendearingendearing qualities–one shared by all three of my sisters–is breaking into laughter at totally inappropriate moments, like when I accidetly hooked my exhusband’s nose with my fly when casting for fish from our little boat in the middle of a lake!It wasn’t actuallty that I was AMUSED at his pain, it was just so ludicrous and I couldn’t resist cracking that it looked like i’d landed a sucker rather than a blueegill! (SHAME ON ME;but even HE had to give me points for thinking fast!) There’s just something about not-really-so-funny-in=ereality moments that just crack me(sises as well) up!I’m always needing to ask pardon for laughing on someone else’s toes! Tose who know and love me in soute of myself have learned to EXPECT those moments of bizzarre humor from me, God bless em! (I’m also able to TAKE what i dish out withourtrancor and actually APPRECIATE someone else’s moment of pertinent sarcasm at my expense; I find it to be a sign of intelligence. Plays on words can provide untold moments of secret amusement.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    I remember as a child the first time I accompanied my mother to a funeral visitation for a neighbor lady who was special to all of us kids. She used to reward us with ice cream cones when we brought her little dog home after he’d escaped fro his backyard pen, always fully aware, little did we realize at the time that the little cachsund had had help escaping. As much as I loved her, the solemnity of the moment sent me in to a spasm of giggles. My mother was mortified, but fortunately the widow understood. Having now buried both of my folks, there were unanticipated moments at both of their visitations which were humorous even though they probably weren’t intended to be. and Cully, you’re absolutely RIGHT! Remembering fits of giggles with my mother is one of the memories I most cherish. my dad used to say that the two of us souded like car batteries struggling to turn over. We’d start, gain control, and then just frojm meeting one another’s eyes be off again.It’s one of te things U look forward to doing with her when we’re reunited.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Larry: there’s an awful lot of wisdom to be found in “Forest Gump” In his charmingly simple(?) way, he was a latter day Confucious. Unfortunately, most people never get beyond the “box of chocolates” observation, which to be sure is profound, but by no means the only pearl of wisdom that character offers It’s no accident that he spent so much time running from torment, either. (Run, Forest, run!”)And look how that served him in the end. none of us knowshow the pain of our experiences is going to eventually benefit us down the long road we call life. And as long as we can laugh long the way, that road won’t seem QUITE so lonely.

  • Larry Parker

    I got everything but the “running across America” part of Forrest Gump the first time I saw it. I thought it was just some satire on the founding of Nike and Reebok and the jogging craze of the ’70s (which it was, also, of course).
    But when I saw it in repeated viewings, I got your point — and it made perfect sense in context with the rest of the film.
    Gump really is almost like a modern-day It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s corny, yes, but it will stand the test of time more than the films around it that were so much more highly rated by critics.

  • Wisdum

    Forest Gump was a bit different for me and my generation. We grew up and through those moments in that history and film. It was a realization and a confrontation, of how perception molds and shapes what we believe is the Truth. The film was a work of genius attached to my generation which included Woodstock, Viet Nam, The Kennedy & Martim Luthor King Assinations, The Kent State Massacre, going right into the Nixon Admistration, where the corruption became full blown. There are film producers today, who are revealing a whole lot of Truth, about what is really going on in this world, Martin Scorcesi in particular
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Re :Wisom on “Forst Gump”
    It sounds to me likewe’re of the same generation my Friend. I too lived through both assassinations (Bobby Kennedy’s as well)_, woodstock and Watergate. I was INDEED a “realization and a confrontation. remember the “flower child’ who puT flowers into rthe rifle barrels of the weapons oF National guardsmen? I can’t honestly remember if that was at Kent state, in D.c. or where, but it was SURELY a very real moment of confrontation. As for MartiN Scorcesi, you can watch my dvd collection any time! There are times, however, to be completely honest, that they give me a little more “Truth” than I want to know! I’m all for enlightenment, but there are times it seems alost as disturbing as finding out there was really no Santa Claus (and i punched out my nine-year-old male cousin who dared to tell me THAT ONE!) iGNORANCE IS DEFINITELY NOT bliss in my book, but innocence is UNDERrated (IMHO)

  • Wisdum

    Re – Margaret Balyeat | November 14, 2007 8:54 PM
    really no Santa Claus (and i punched out my nine-year-old male cousin who dared to tell me THAT ONE!)
    ** Margaret ! There really is a Santa Clause, and an Easter Bunny also! There are both Spirits. Santa is the spirit of Giving, and you know that is true, because at the end of the year, every year, the entire world, is moved with the Spirit of Giving. And every Easter, the entire world is moved by the Spirit of New Birth/Born Again. I’m sure you have noticed that, ever since you were a little child! There are all kinds of spirits out there, the Spirit of Anger, Lust, Jealousy, Greed, but my favorite Spirit that moves me is the Spirit of Love/Holy Spirit… and that Spirit can and does touch the entire world! Of course don’t forget the Spirit of Temptation/Power of Resistance, because that spirit will definitely grab ahold of you too!
    LUV 2 U / LUV 2 ALL

  • Tracey

    For people who provide entertainment, which you do, secondary to wisdom, information, compassion and friendship, it seems impossible not to occasionally hit a mark that you didn’t even know was out there.
    I was thinking about this the other day. I am the queen of social blunders. I like to make people laugh and the timing doesn’t give much cushion. If you wait five seconds to think it through (ie. is this going to be offensive? is this going to make me come across as a total ass?), then it’s not funny. Anyway, I was considering the number of times I make a fool of myself vs. the number of people who get a good endorphine rush when I do manage to pluck at their tickle strings. I mean I honestly thought this through, because I’ve been re-evaluate how I spend my energy (because I have a chronic illness and have learned how MUCH my inter-personal energy can zap me – long story). Bottom line, I decided to continue making a fool of myself because when I do make someone laugh, what I get back is worth every blunder.
    … and that’s all I have to say about that.

  • Blanche

    I laughed until I cried. Although you’re struggling with depression, as I am, it’s comforting to know that you’re a HOOT. Thank you so much, Therese.

  • Cindy

    Dear Therese,
    Almost every time I post on BB, it is to thank you for writing this blog. There have been times when subjects were touchy, times they were irrelevant, & times when you hit the nail on the head for me. You have given us an outlet to share OUR emotions. The key in that sentence is “OUR”. I believe anyone who is a regular BB reader should know that you would never intentionally offend. Most importantly, when someone is offended by something you wrote, the “being offended” part is that person’s emotion & no one has any control over anyone’s emotions, but that person. They can either choose to be offended or choose to take it in the context in which it was meant. The context you use is from your own emotions. That is a gift to us. It is sort of like watching TV. If you don’t like what’s on, then change the channel.
    My greatest emotion about reading BB is overall, everyone tries to show respect for other’s emotions. Most of all, respect for your emotions because you show the same respect with every blog I’ve seen.
    I have to say that I feel great sympathy for the depressed widow. While my father is still alive, we have lost him to Alzheimer’s & we have to go through the grieving process every time we see him. My mother has been living this for the last 3 years. However, I am sad that you feel you have to apologize for someone else feeling offended.
    I’ll close by saying that these are only my emotions & sentiment about your writing, Therese.
    Once again, I’m grateful for you insights & the outlet you provide for expressing our emotions!

  • Julie Klein

    In reference to :40 Ways Aren’t Always Enough
    I didn’t take offense to your opinion becuse I beleive if you keep your man happy he won’t stray. And if you get a few helpful hints along the way why not use them. I believe if I had some of those tips me and my ex-husband would still be together. And I wouldn’t be sooooo miserable in my current relationship. But things don’t always work out like you thought they would. So, you move on

  • Shawna

    The only part I took a little hard was the crack about the wife being Bi-Polar and refusing treatment the rest was great and I only took it hard for a second because I am A Bi-Polar wife who has been being treated for the last 17years and am sometimes more balanced than most but right now am struggling to find reason to continue since my husband of 16 years and my inspiration had a complete melt down after my mother pasted 5 years ago of breast cancer. Because of my label it took the first 2 years to get anyone to beleive me even with overwhelming evidence in my favor and by that time he already was so far into a chemical imbalance my attempts to get him help have so far failed even though he fully has agnoliged several examples that even one by itself would send anyone to get help Now days I lost my laughter lost my drive and just try to gather enough strength to get me and my two teenage boys to the next day. the hardest part is seeing the damage it has done to my boys one of them is bi-polar autistic with seizures I keep telling god ok I get it I know how much my mother delt with and I don’t Know how she did it and now cant ask her but i get it enough I finally gave up asking god for a direction I dont think I will get through this one losing hope

  • Dotty

    I rarely read columns on a regular basis, but I have to say I look forward to reading your column Therese. I love your humor and your practical take on life experiences/challenges. You take a “glass is half-full” approach on situations even when life throws curve balls…that’s how I live my days too. Personally, I find your column and views inspirational and encourage you NOT to change a thing about your humor or approach…that’s your style and that’s why most keep “tuning in” to your column. Those who read your column on a regular basis get your humor and understand that your intent is not to offend or hurt readers, but give them a lift.
    Please keep up the great work!

  • Nancy

    This is your blog. You are writing about your opinions, your thoughts, your humor etc. Please don’t let others dictate or cause you to apologize for what you write.
    I subcribe to your blog because of the way you write. Yes, there are times I may take offense (that depression and alcoholic mind of mine) but I was taught that “unless you have something good to say, don’t say anything” and that holds true for blogs also.
    People need to remember it is your blog, not theirs, and any opposing opinion they may have does not need to be shared.
    Actually (giggling), if they don’t like what you have to say then they don’t have to read it and they can go get their own blog and complain about yours if they wish. LOL
    Keep writing the way you do Therese…you have more people “breaking their face” from what you write then you have complaining.

  • Jean

    For heaven’s sake, people. Lighten up! Life is something to be lived, not lamented! My wonderful husband died suddenly at age 44. I was 36 with 2 small children. It was hard, and I’m not saying I haven’t had bouts of depression (Welbutrin saved me!)but I am stronger for it. One thing Jim’s passing showed me was how temporary our existence is. We need to live our lives as if we only have today. Laugh, love, forgive, and cherish each moment with family and friends. For me, I went back to college to leave a career I didn’t like, and now I’m doing something I love doing. I live in a beautiful small town, and my children have grown into self-sufficient, successful adults. I have a great relationship with a new fella, and I live my life with an eye toward quality-quantity isn’t guaranteed. As I see it, you can choose to be miserable because you think that’s the way a widow should act, or you can live the remainder of your life as a tribute to the wonderful man you had the priviledge to love. I chose the latter. Therese, you are an angel of mercy for so many. Don’t let those toxic downer-types discourage you. Pity their short-sightedness, and move on.

  • Pam

    Come On People! It’s better to laugh rather than cry and let yourself get all wrapped up in “life”. Life is for living! If you look at the word L I V E closely you’ll find that not to LIVE is E V I L! I chose to live. I lost my husband last year after only 6 months of illness. I took all manners of criticism from my very own Mom who was widowed at the same age. She told me that I wasn’t playing the part of the grieving widow very well. Could be because I didn’t choose to quit living as she had done. I can go to bed at night knowing that I did everything in my power to make my husband’s last days as comfortable as possible. We knew it was coming since we were both medical professionals so we made the good days count, planned for the days that we were about to face. At first it bothered me so much that I eventually talked to my Pastor and his wife. He looked at me squarely and told me that because he had been with us through some really tough times, that I HAD honored my vows and had done everything humanly possible for my husband. When it came time for him to “Go Home” I held his hand and his frail body and watched his spirit leave. The only thing I didn’t do was die with him. My Pastor said that I was young, resourceful and I SHOULD INDEED GO ON LIVING! Did it hurt any less—I had my moments believe me. But I found that geting out and being with some new friends made my days more tolerable rather than taking to my bed and withering away too. Today, I’m reasonably healthy, happy and content. My ROSE withered and died but thankfully “Roses Bloom Again”! Keep on using your humor to get you through. I’m a firm believer that humor can indeed be found in nearly everything. We may have to look a little closer for it but that’s the neat part. When we’re looking for it—it just pops up. Thank You!!!!! By the way, YOU GO JEAN! I agree wholeheartedly. LIVE!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Re – Pam | November 16, 2007 8:16 AM
    BRAVO! … Dam, I never noticed that before LIVE spelled backwards is EVIL … not there’s a piece of Truth, Light and the Way ! BTW, there is no death, only a change of address ! (souls are eternal !) And as far as God’s sense of humor, nobody thinks it’s one dam bit funny, but God…(and me too!)
    LUV 2 U / LUV 2 ALL

  • Anonymous

    Shauna you can’t give up. Like you said you have 2 boys to look after. Remain strong and have faith in GOD because he is there just keep trusting in him. Research the wellness/mental and support group programs in your area for personal assisatance in deeling with your troubles. There are people out there that can help, they are your angels.
    boston, MA

  • Anonymous

    Re – more Pam
    Hey ! this is getting very pro-found … “EVIL” = SIN = “The wages of sin is DEATH” = Re-Pent(of the Spirit)= Born Again = LIVE Again ! …Cool!
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Pantera

    It’s difficult to laugh when you’re wounded. Try it and let me know how it feels. Try laughing when you just find out that the man you thought was ‘peerless’, sincere, ethical and above all honest, is fired from his high ranking job for “Misconduct”, misconduct of the highest type, giving preferential (as in being involved in an affair) with a woman who was similarly situated to those he was supposed to evaluate. When you find out that he blames you for his treachery and misconduct, when you find out that for years this man has maintained close ties with every female he’s ever met and has used them as the repository of his most intimate confidences about me and our marriage.
    All this while professing love to me, “You’re my life, my blood, my everything”, bringing me flowers each week, presents almost as often and introducing me around as his “better half”.
    Yeah, I can’t stop laughing. It would have been more bearable for me to sustain a loss of a limb, to lose the husband I worshipped for ever, at least I would have been left with the good memories. How would you feel if you suddenly, realize that you’ve been living a lie for decades! That you were married to an imposter, a liar, a cheat, a person devoid of self respect? That’s really funny, haaahaaahaaa and Tee Hee! Stop criticizing you insensitive toads.

  • Barb

    I love your humor and admire your ability to not take yourself so seriously. Keep it up. It gives me hope.

  • Ash

    I also have 2 boys to and i do my best for them by myself but times i think i need a mans help with them.

  • adriana

    I’m sure we could of use the space of 40 for batter ones, some were really lame, but good luck to everyone with the task, I’d say: be yourself! and be fun

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