One of my co-workers said this to me yesterday, and it got me thinking. I guess I am a pretty upbeat person, which I realize can be annoying to some people at times, especially when they're having a bad day and have a low tolerance for cheefulness. I come by this trait honestly--my Mother is perhaps the most cheerful and upbeat person I know, so apparently that apple didn't fall far from the tree.
I sometimes feel it's my job to bring up the mood of those around me--be the "cheerleader", if you will. I know my Mother has felt this way throughout her illness and she always makes sure no one sees her having a bad day. Even when her pain is almost beyond the limits of human tolerance, she'll struggle to put a smile on her face and do her best to reassure you that she's "just fine."
Last Saturday, my Mom had an operation to stabilize her fractured femur with some pins. The operation was a success and she had no troubles at all coming out of the anesthetic. By Sunday morning, she was her usual chipper self, joking with the nurses and other women on the ward. Another patient on the ward was evidently annoyed by my Mom's cheerfulness and complained to her nurse about it. Okay, I get it--some people are not "morning people", especially when they're in the hospital and probably feeling pretty shitty. No problem. Here's my problem--the nurse actually told my Mom to be less cheerful.
Are you fucking kidding me?
That really pissed me off. No health professional worth his/her salt should be telling any terminally ill patient that they're too happy and need to be less happy because their positive attitude--which is painstakingly constructed each day in order to make the specter of looming death less scary--is annoying someone else who lacks the same positive outlook.
My Mother's positive attitude is the reason she's still here. When she was first diagnosed, she was given 3 months to live--that was 3 years ago. She has defied every doctor's expectation and continues to do so. So forgive me if I get a little angry when someone suggests she should "tone it down" because it's like saying we, and she, aren't worth living for.