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     I've been young all my life. Or, rather, I've FELT young all my life. Now, all of a sudden, I am not young. When I was fifty, out of the blue like a hurricane, a zillion fears and worries and heartaches came pouring all over me, and I began to cry. At first, I thought it was grief, for I was, indeed, grieving over a great loss. So I cried for a year before I went to ask for help. But it was menopause mixed with grief. What a lovely combination. Hot flashes that felt like a sudden high fever, night sweats, quickly wrinkling skin, the works. I cried over all the things I was not accomplishing around the house. (Now this was something that had never bothered me before, unless someone important was coming over!) I cried for all the things I would never have. (That is something that has never bothered me.) I cried for my lost youth. (Something I've never had time to mourn.) The doctor was able to help. But that year was truly terrible. Part of the reason I cried, was that I knew I was wasting precious time crying, and it was all over things that were not worth a wrinkled brow! I cried because I could not stop crying. This, from a person who actually, rarely cries. It was as bad as adolescence, or maybe worse!

* Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation. 2 Corinthians 1:3

     It is now two years later. While medicine did help, and still is helping, it took until this winter, to begin to feel like myself again. I just exclaimed to my husband today, "honey, my old normal cheerful self is coming back! Though he had no idea what I was feeling, I am so happy to feel that again!" And I began to thank God for the feeling of cheer inside. I can remember when I felt cheerful every single day. But something else occurred to me. If I had never gone through menopause, I don't think I ever would have thought of thanking God for my happy disposition. I am intending to thank Him for the rest of my life, for every time I become aware that I am again feeling cheerful. Now there is something extra to be happy about!

2004 Rosemary Gwaltney