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The 5 Happiness Zappers and What Helps Me Cope with Them

“Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.” ~Eckhart Tolle

When my mother told me, “Honey, you don’t understand; you can’t,” initially I felt like she was being condescending.

It was Mother’s Day and, unbeknownst to me, the last time I’d see her before her final hospital visit.

We’d spent that Saturday updating her computer, watching waves at the beach, and picking up seashells, then eating dinner at a popular local restaurant frequented by travelers, including famous musicians on tour buses because of its location off of the interstate.

By early evening, we were lying on her bed talking mostly about nothing important. However, when she mentioned that she was organizing all her pictures in zip lock bags for her two sisters, my brother, and me, it sounded strange yet significant.

“Why?” I asked.

“I’m not going to live forever,” she said.

“But you’re doing fine right now,” I responded referring to her health at the moment. Her health challenges in the past few years had made it necessary for her to move to live closer to her older sister.

The conversation segued to how much she missed her mother, my nanny, who’d passed away twenty-two years earlier. The emotional angst in her voice caught me off guard. I was close to my nanny and missed her too but could tell that my mom missed her at a deeper emotional level than I understood.

I asked questions, trying to understand exactly what she missed. Did she miss talking to her? Her cooking? Her laugh? But she didn’t or couldn’t answer. Instead, she looked into my eyes with one of those motherly looks that said, “enough of the questions.” Then she said, “Honey, you don’t understand. You can’t.”

I knew it was time to change the subject,

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