A Sweet Sense of Sad Happiness

I have just finished reading a book – Sunlight on my Shadow by Judy Liautaud – and I am feeling this sweet sense of sad joy. It is the story of a 16 year old girl who became pregnant. Unmarried, in 1967, when such an happening was a shameful burden on the family, most especially since the family was a “good Catholic family”.

The author described in touching detail her shame, the guilt she felt, the terrible aloneness of being a pregnant teenager in the days when that was something that was whispered about and never ever discussed in public. Never ever acknowledged. I remember those years. I remember the whispers in high school when a girl, who was obviously “bad”, became pregnant. Never was the boy a guilty party. It was always the girl. The girl who must have been too “easy”, a “slut”. No understanding for the poor girl, who was swept away by emotions she was unprepared to handle. The poor girl, whose family felt shame and a need to spirit her away, far away, where no one need know of the horrible act she had committed. The poor girl, who forever after had to live with the shame, the fear, the loss.

Judy’s journey is not an easy one and takes her many years to resolve. But resolve it she does – with courage, with spirit, with determination. In the end she feels complete, she is able to forgive herself, she is able to go on with her life. She becomes whole again. It is a sadly sweet story, and it has left me with this sense. Of what, it is hard to describe. A sense of how blessed life can be, if only we can face it head on. If only we can understand and accept ourselves.

If only.

About Carol

I'm me - nothing unusual, just me. Widowed, 2 grown children who are my best friends, 1 dog, retired, loving being retired. I am woman, I am strong.
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14 Responses to A Sweet Sense of Sad Happiness

  1. Eloquent thoughts about a powerful story, Carol. I love your conclusion. Thank you for sharing this.


  2. jay53 says:

    It sounds sad indeed. Poor girl. My aunt was one of those girls, even further back into the past when nobody – even within the family – was told, if they didn’t directly need to know. My parents knew, because they lived far enough away for my aunt to be sent to them to have the baby in secret – then immediately adopted of course. As far as I know, her future husband and her legitimate children never knew and still do not know, which leaves me with a dilemma when it comes to the family history chronicles. And I have absolutely no way of tracing the lost child.


  3. Beautiful words about a book that delves into a girl’s personal struggles, Carol. I’m putting this on my “to read” list. 🙂


  4. Like Naomi, I love your conclusion.


  5. Lynne Ayers says:

    If only we can understand and accept ourselves – a life’s journey right there. And I love the phrase ‘sad joy’. Interesting post, Carol.


  6. Hey, I just read and reviewed this book on my other blog! Loved it too.


  7. Kathy says:

    Understanding and accepting ourselves are key. Sometimes it takes a long time to do this fully. It sounds like a really interesting book–will add it to my “wish list”.


  8. Dawn says:

    Will add it to my wish list too. I remember those days too. There was a girl in my high school that got pregnant and we all had to go to a school assembly to be told not to talk about her or tease or etc. I don’t remember her being there when she had the baby, so odds are they sent her somewhere. I sometimes think about her and wonder…the child would be almost 40 now.


  9. Heather says:

    Everyone above said it all – you nailed it with the conclusion. Understanding and accepting ourselves is what this journey is all about. Hopefully we’ll learn a bit about understanding and/or accepting others, too.
    In book-related commentary: do you read Barbara Kingsolver? I find her stories are often sadly sweet.


  10. lisa says:

    Swept away by emotions she was unprepared to handle is a great description…for both then and now. Forgiveness and grace are powerful medicines to heal the soul.


  11. Robin says:

    I’m going to have to look for this book. It could be my story. It is my story, in many ways.


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