I have been fascinated by happiness for the past three or four years. Martin Seligman is the current guru of happiness, and is doing a wonderful job of spreading the word about happiness. I found out about him from my friend, Jacque Ristau. She spent the big bucks and did an online study project with him. I'm studying about happiness in vivo, and trying out the rules of happiness in my own life. I am also following a great blog, The Happiness Project. One of the recent recommendations on this blog was to look to the past to increase happiness in the present.
I just followed this rule last week. I went to my grandmother's funeral. Minnie Mama would have been ninety-nine years old just a week after her death, and she was a wonderful Methodist matriarch. She loved White Shoulders Perfume, Coty Powder and red nail Polish. She loved to cook Sunday meals and feed her family and she loved Elvis' gospel songs. Returning to Kentucky to attend her funeral brought me back to a feeling of home that few have. Cousins gathered that I didn't recognize or had never met, and other cousins gathered that I have seen almost every year of my life. The minister who conducted the funeral asked for memories about our beloved grandmother. I remember Christmases, and long trips in the back seat of my parents unconditioned GM car sans seat belts, with my siblings, waiting to get to grandmother's home in Trenton, Kentucky, with as much anticipation as if we were going to Disney World. When we arrived, I would see my nearest cousin in age, Ramona, and listen to Sonny and Cher, and Elvis singing his gospel songs. In recognition of this memory, In The Garden sung by Elvis was played at the funeral.
My grandmother, uncharacteristically, had the last work, by way of the poem she wrote and wanted read as the very last thing.
I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done
I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the way
of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun
of happy memories that I leave when life is done.