When our small private school opened with face-to-face learning on August 6th, 2020 I was certain things were about to get better. My twins were finally starting school, and I was going to get a much-needed break. This was the start of something good. The return to normalcy. What we didn’t know then was a different kind of normal was coming to us all.
You know how sometimes you’re dealt a really terrible hand, and you just have to roll with it? At the risk of sounding all doom and gloom, that has (for the most part) been the last year of my life.
On the third day of school, my husband left for work and never came back home.
The day started as it had for the past three years. My husband, Chad, went to work. I dropped the kids off at school and came home to do dishes and clean. Mid-morning, things took a tragic turn.
A strange number popped up on my cell phone. It was my husband’s boss. He had been in an accident at work. They were taking him to Grady for observation. I immediately called the school and picked the kids up. We were ready to get him when he was discharged.
That never happened.
Long story short, things didn’t go as I had anticipated. Chad was admitted to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. He spent a grueling two weeks there, in and out of consciousness. I had flashbacks of the twins’ NICU stay – he’d take a step forward, only to fall three steps behind. I finally got to see him, the day before he passed away.
My attempt at making lemonade.
How do you move on from a loss of that magnitude? How do you accept the different kind of normal you are now facing? You do the best you can.
Our lives were changed forever. But we persisted. You learn how fragile life is, and what is truly important. You try to figure it out and learn so many new things about yourself. You are far more capable than you ever thought.
People often tell me that I’m “so strong,” but the truth is I’m not. I’m in survival mode. I cry a lot and I cut corners. I’ve learned it’s far more important to be present than perfect. But, more than anything, I’ve learned how to ask for help.
Grief can come in many forms, and those forms can change in a split second, sometimes multiple times a day. No matter how hard we try, we aren’t machines – we have emotions, and it’s completely normal to show them. It’s okay to say, “I am doing the best I can.”
Bloom into a beautiful wildflower, wherever the seed is planted. That is a sign of strength.