To smile, to cry, to say goodbye… ‘a smile in one eye, a tear in the other’

I read a book last week, perhaps you saw the post. The title quoted the author’s wife, who observed:

“…a smile in one eye, a tear in the other.” – Ralph and Ginger Webster

I understand the concept. Life has a way of coming at you so quickly that you haven’t the time to make a decision what emotion to dwell on.

Hopefully, our emotions are worked separately throughout life. We smile, we cry…and in the end, we say goodbye. It doesn’t always happen that way…sometimes birth and death happen at the same time. If we’re lucky, we survive with only a scar around our hearts and more sweet memories than sad…or bad.

Sometimes, old memories are so overshadowed by a dull ache, that the urge to run away from the pain never really relinquishes its grip; even I, an incurable optimist, succumb at times. You would think that having 10+ children and more than 50 grands would cure my melancholy for once and for all. For the most part, it does.

But now my children have gone on to live their own lives, with kids of their own. I expected this. I told my babies as they were growing up that becoming an adult was just the natural, inexorable way of things – that they wouldn’t always need me right there with them. For many, many years I even told them that one day, when I got old, I planned on running away, because once they had grown and gone, I knew I would be lonesome, what with so much quiet and all.

My last baby is now 25. My one child left is now a man. He went off on his own a lot of years ago, too. I’m happy that all my children are content. I’m sad that they’re gone. And I can’t even call my mom when I’m feeling blue, because I said goodbye to her and my father fifteen years ago.

Can I run away now?

Connecticut held me tight, once I moved away from North Carolina, for even though we lived a hundred miles or so away from real mountains, we had beautiful, high hills..and when the snow covered them in the winter, it was a balm to my heart. But, ahhh…those Smoky Mountains!

I fell in love for the very first time in my life as a young girl, there, in those ancient mountains. Married him, too. But he was a Vietnam Marine Corps veteran and battle fatigue and shell shock…PTSD…took him away from everyone, including me. Only the mountains could hold him, but eventually even they weren’t strong enough to battle a weakened heart, and God called him home. He was barely 50 years old.

My nowadays husband spent his 22 married years in the Smokies, too. And he lost his wife there. She was only 42.

I miss my old mountains. But I’m not sure where I want to run away to any more. If I was all alone, without a husband, I’d probably go back home to the mountains, but I wouldn’t want to go where my husband had his wife. I wouldn’t want to intrude on those memories. And my memories are my own, as well.

Mama and Daddy are buried there, too.

I always love to visit my Smokies, to breathe the clean mountain air and hike from one mountain top to another. All quiet and whatnot. Peaceful.

I still have my memories, whether I turn back time in my mind here in Florida, or if I go home in the flesh to do it.

But I miss home.

Going home sounds like such a good idea, even if I must face having a smile in one eye and a tear in the other.





….not so young….










…and then.




14 thoughts on “To smile, to cry, to say goodbye… ‘a smile in one eye, a tear in the other’

  1. I brushed away a tear there. And another one right now. Nostalgia is something which brightens and saddens my days at the same time as well.
    At least no one can take those Smokey Mountain memories away from you :).


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