The New Normal

Life has been repeatedly throwing us curve ball after curve ball this year, and every time we think we might be in the clear we’re given something new to deal with. Two weekends ago, as we were away at a family retreat and preparing for a big wedding this weekend, we had a loss in the family. With that passing, a time that was supposed to be reserved exclusively for joy and excitement was divided by grief and mourning. We went from two emotional extremes in very little time and the ability to change gears quickly is a characteristic that has come to define our year.

This photo as a metaphor for my current outlook: mostly beautiful but clouded over.
This photo as a metaphor for my current outlook: mostly beautiful but clouded over.

The wedding on Saturday was a beautiful union between two families and I was firmly invested in being present during this joyous event. However, somewhere between dessert and the first dance, I felt my focus to waver. Between the funeral we attended earlier in the week and my ever present feelings of loss (and the release of that Adele song, “Hello“), I had been feeling emotionally raw and something awakened in me which is why I started to feel overwhelmed with sadness. By the time the father-daughter dance began, I needed to excuse myself and sneak outside. I didn’t want to be like that; this day wasn’t about me and the couple (our family) had already shared their week with enough sadness that they didn’t need my additional input. But I couldn’t help it and so I sat there, on the golf cart parked outside the kitchen and wept.

D eventually found me and we went back to our room for a bit and talked. It was comforting to be in his company and by the end of our talk, I felt 90% better, which is why he insisted that I call my mom. Initially I didn’t want to call and disturb her but D encouraged me, so I dialled home. Talking to my mom made me realize how grateful I am to have her, and though we’ve always been close, the last six months has changed the nature of our relationship. Yes, we’re still mother and daughter and yes, we’re still friends, but now we’re also compatriots in this land of grief. It’s not a citizenship we asked for but it is something we share.

The morning after.
The morning after.

On Sunday, when D and I returned home I recalled the details of my weekend to my best friend and as always, she was sympathetic and listened carefully, offering me just the right balance of acceptance and understanding as well as gentle encouragement, showing me what I didn’t want to acknowledge. Things won’t ever be the same again and no amount of wishing and waiting is going to allow me to have what I did. This is my new normal.

You know what though? In spite of all the heartache, the last six months has also been filled with a lot of love and friendship. From my friend who messages me every time she receives an email update (hi babycakes!) to the people I’ve connected with online, my life is filled with wonderful people and even though things look different from how they once were, it still looks pretty good.

My lifeline

Rest assured however that I no longer question the duplicitous nature of life; as calm as things may seem on the surface, the potential for chaos always remains. The thing is that I refuse to become jaded because I know that as difficult as things may appear and as lost as you can feel, there is often something or someone to pull you back.

My people. Not pictured: all the other wonderful people that also enrich my life.
My people. Not pictured: all the other wonderful people that also enrich my life.

In the spirit of my Monday posts where I not so subtly suggest activities for you to partake in, (Do! category FYI) this week, take some time to (re)connect with the people that matter. Oh yeah, and if you’re like me you can journal about it too.


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