Life’s been less than ideal for me recently. It’s a roller coaster of emotions and feelings. I feel like I haven’t had time to process the sudden deaths of my parents. I feel too much, I’m numb or I’m angry. It’s a roller coaster. I feel like my thoughts are a rambled and disorganized hot mess. So grab some coffee and tissues but please excuse this hot mess called my life.
Recently I watched a Netflix documentary called “The Long Good-Bye: The Kara Tippets Story.” It’s about a young mom who is dying of stage 4 cancer. It chronicles her life and death with her husband, kids, friends, and family.
I was inspired by her story and her fervency to embrace and accept her life. Kara Tippets facing her own mortality is inspiring. Facing her grief over the life she had instead of the life she imagined. As a mom with two young children, I could relate to her in that sense. I couldn’t imagine saying goodbye to my husband and kids knowing they wouldn’t have me at some point.
For me, that has been the biggest challenge in my life; acceptance of the life I have instead of the life I thought I should have. I’ve made peace with the chaotic childhood I endured or the parents I had instead of the parents I always wanted. I’ve accepted life is not perfect and orderly but messy.
My 4-year-old son and I were sitting on our back deck watching neighbors setting off their fireworks. As I sat with him in this simple moment I felt a sense of peace. The fireworks we saw over the top of the trees were beautiful. The sound of the bugs was loud and there was a cool breeze. At that moment with him, I realized what was important in life. It’s these moments, the mundane and ordinary moments and memories I’m making with my kids and husband. These memories will sustain us in the difficult situations we will face.
I recently had a miscarriage in the first week of July. For three weeks I went through all the pregnancy symptoms. I had morning sickness and had to slow down physically. I mourned not being able to tell my mom. My husband and I knew the pregnancy was probably not viable. Even though it was not planned we still fell in love with the idea of a new addition to our family.
This latest miscarriage has helped my husband and I face our fertility and closing this chapter in our life. Even though this event is sad, it’s also been a blessing. It’s a bittersweet moment when you mourn and say goodbye to the childbearing years. We are having discussions that are open and very real. It’s been good to come together in a decision that’s best for our family. I’m grateful to have that choice to decide. I’m 43 and my fertility window is closing. That in itself is a mourning process. It’s letting go of the baby stage in child-rearing.
My daughter is coming into her next chapter as a young woman. She’s mourning in the reality that’s she’s not a little girl anymore. She’s turning 9 soon and in another year will be 10!!! My husband and I are navigating entering the tween years. We are having meaningful conversations with her that will shape her into the woman she will evolve into. I’m so afraid of her not wanting to tell me her inner thoughts.
We are mourning this transition but yet embracing it. I’m honored to walk with her on her journey. My mom wasn’t there for me during these formative years. That was one of her regrets in life she later told me. My daughter is realizing she’s having to mature and it’s been tough. She’s doing great though and we hope we are giving her what she needs. I hope in seeing my imperfections and how I handle failure she’s learning grit and resilience.
I don’t know why I’m going through the challenges I’m facing. It’s not my place to know or even understand what life has given me. My job in all of this is to embrace my life as the hot mess it is. It’s to find the blessing among my struggles. It’s to face the challenges head-on and not run away from them. I want to face my fears in life and live life fully like I was dying of stage 4 cancer. I want to forgive myself for my mistakes and to forgive people who have abandoned me or rejected me.
My parents died of preventable illness so I’m working hard to improve my health so my kids have me for as long as possible. I’m working on eating better and getting my blood pressure under control with my doctor, diet, and exercise. I want my friends and family to feel deeply loved by me and to know it. I want my husband and me to grow old together so he’s making changes with me so we can sit quietly on a porch, listening to the birds chirping. I want him and me to have a strong friendship that will continue to help us endure the challenges in life. I want to see my kids first dates, graduations, first jobs, and many more milestones. I want them to see the lessons I’ve endured and learn from them. I want to soak them up and inhale these moments with them because these years are short. I don’t want to regret not hugging, kissing, or the bedtime snuggles.
I try not to cry and be an emotional hot mess. But I’ve realized my tears are meant to be shared. Tears provide healing. Instead of self-medicating or avoiding grief I’m facing my grief. Grief is not meant to be solitary but to be surrounded by love and support. I can’t do this alone I’ve realized how much I’ve needed my husband and friends.
I’m so grateful for my friends who have sent food, texts, calls, and messages. I’ve really learned what true love has been through the kindness of my friends and even strangers. In being open with my grief I’ve found support and I’ve been able to give back. Grief is unexplainable and unexpected. I’m so glad my story has helped others grow and heal. I’m so glad to be inspired by others and learn from them.
As I pour my second cup of coffee, I realize life’s hot messes bring unexpected blessings and growth. There’s beauty in tragedy. New beginnings come from ashes. Grace is found in unexpected places. Joy comes in the quietness of the sunrise.
Life is indeed messy, short, and precious. I want to inhale each moment with my husband and kids. I never want to take them for granted.
Thank you for letting me ramble and share. My hope in this is we can all realize we are not alone in our challenges.