A New Normal
At the beginning of grief, you survive one minute at a time. Pain takes your breath away. You shake your head in disbelief thinking “this couldn’t have really happened, this is so unreal.”
I filled my minutes in the rawest and darkest of days as best as I could. I needed to know my schedule was full and without a lot of idle time. Friends and family spent the night as I was terrified by the magnitude of the darkness I was feeling and I was so distraught to be there in our home without my husband. I needed trusted people who let me process and weep aloud regularly. Precious friends and family would entertain my sweet sons to give them whatever sense of “normal” and secure was possible at that time. They would sleep on my couch or air mattress, wake up, do my dishes and head out to their jobs. I will forever be grateful to these loved ones.
My strategy early on was sleeping in. If I slept in as late as possible, I would have less hours of alone time to manage before my next scheduled loved one rotated in for their visit.
For me, mornings were always harder than the lonely nights. Sleep seemed to whisk me away into some peace and contentment and I would wake-up initially thinking life really was still peaceful and content and “normal,” but that sense of calm only lasted a few minutes and then it was like re-living the sting of the sudden loss all over again. The reality flooded in. This was anything but “normal.” The weight of grief would overwhelm me quickly and simply facing the next hour seemed so overwhelming in and of itself. I remember taking my sons out to play in the yard and feeling literally barely able to stand because of the heaviness in my heart.
My goal became…. “do the next thing.” Just do the next thing. Whether that was changing a diaper, forcing down breakfast when I didn’t want to eat, making myself brush my teeth when I didn’t care how my breath smelled, or folding the laundry. I was always in search of something to do. Ways to get out of the house to force myself into visits and conversations and activities.
It is strange in grief’s journey how without even being consciously aware of the transition, getting through the next moment becomes “Just take it one day at a time.” and then as the months go by you find yourself setting goals for each week and month and reminding yourself to “play the cards you’ve been dealt to the very best of your ability.”
Now that I stand here having survived the two hardest years of my life, It feels so very odd to me how everything I did each day in pure survival mode, with no long term goals or dreams or plans somehow morphed into this new version of normal that has become my life without me even being consciously aware of it. I’m still here, still doing what I have been doing to survive all along. And I can’t help but ask myself, “When am I going to feel like I am living a life that I want to be living again?” It is the famous surviving versus thriving thing…… “When am I going to thrive again?” Or am I ever going to feel like I am thriving? Sometime it feels like that is impossible because such a large part of me feels missing that thriving just doesn’t even seem like an option.
I still rail against my new normal in my innermost heart of hearts. I used to be the queen of planning. I set life goals. My husband and I dreamed our dreams and worked hard to build a beautiful life together with a lifelong love as our ultimate commitment and delight. Now, I have very few plans. I show up. I do my best and I hope and pray with all my heart that God has a new normal far beyond this tunnel of grief that I will one day reach and be able to say that I am happy and enjoying life once again. I will hold onto this hope, knowing that God is in the business of doing the things that are impossible for me.
How do you cope with your “new normal?”
In Hope & Prayers,
From This Widow Mama
Do you know someone ready to make a meaningful impact this holiday season? Join us in embracing the true spirit of giving by getting involved in the Hope for Widows Foundation’s ‘Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program’ virtual initiative, now in its third year. This program directly supports widows who may be struggling to provide gifts and essentials for their children during the holiday season.
For many widows facing financial challenges, the choice between keeping the lights on, putting food on the table, and buying presents can be heart-wrenching. When you add the responsibilities of solo parenting, the weight of grief, and the toll it takes emotionally and physically, the burden becomes even greater.
To become a sponsor and access more information, and details visit the following link: https://bit.ly/3ZROBWo
For our widows/hope sisters in the community, please stay tuned as we’ll be sending out widow applications for sponsorship this holiday season very soon.
Let’s come together and make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.