We’ve all experienced loss in our lives. Whether it was a close relative, a beloved family friend or even a family pet, we’ve all had to say good bye to someone or something we’ve all deeply loved at one point in our lives.
I remember, when I was 9 years old having to say good bye to my Grandmother for the last time. She was no longer the person I had known the first few years of my short life. She was now bedridden, so frail, unable to speak or hardly move, unable to really recognize myself or my brothers, but was able to ensure that she had her trusty bible by her side no matter what! She fought so hard against the cancer that finally ended her life, but she knew she was headed to a better place and was ready, but as her loved ones looked on we grieved. I will cry thinking about her even to this day almost 30 years later, not because I’m sad for her, but I’m sad for me. I’m sad for the things I wish that she could have been there to see me accomplish. My high school graduation, our wedding, Kaylee’s birth. But, life moved on, and we were able to survive and continue moving life forward.
Fast forward to the day after Christmas 2016, my mother had been in a nursing home for somewhere around 6 months and I received the phone call I had been dreading. She had a major stroke earlier in the year that left her not the person who raised me, she no longer recognized me or my family. If I had only known that I would not get to speak to her again just a few months prior, I would have stayed just a little longer on my last trip to see her before I moved. But again, I wasn’t sad for her, I knew she was getting out of a place she, if she were in her “right mind” would have hated being in. I was sad for me, she wouldn’t get to come down and enjoy our new home in Florida, she wouldn’t be able to walk with us on the beach. She wouldn’t be around to see Kaylee’s high school graduation, her wedding or her child’s birth. But again, life has moved on, and we have been able to survive and time has marched forward.
April 11, 2019 is burned into my memory and will always be a reminder of what was and what could have been. But, just four days prior we had a photo session with a good friend of ours. That day was not one of my proudest moments, we were driving to a beach we had never been to before and trying to find a very hidden location. I was tired, hot and hungry! Three ingredients that do not make for a happy Chris. But what made it even worse is I’m not a very happy person when you mix in having my picture taken and the beach. More particularly, SAND! As I was fussing and fuming about having to walk and stumble in the sand and over the beach rocks and such, I made, what should have been a very happy time, a very sad time for Lisa and Kaylee. We walked across a beach just to find out we were in the wrong location, so instead of just laughing it off and moving on, I had to make a bad situation worse by making everyone that much more unhappy. But finally, we were able to find our friend and get some amazing images out of it.
I’m fortunate enough to have a very loving and forgiving wife, who can look past my faults and see that I’m a pretty decent guy. But as we look back at these images, I can’t help be remember the person I was. I grieve for that life. Not because I don’t cherish the one I have, but because I miss the things I took for granted. But, I can’t help but feel that something better is just around the corner waiting. I don’t know what that is. Some days are tough, but that’s part of the grieving process, it’s always harder some days before it gets easier. You always miss the person a little more just before you come to realization that, “Hey, life is still worth living and I still love them and they still love me, just from afar!”
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, it’s okay to grieve for the old life you lost. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure it’s healthy to. If you just stay home and mad at the world or God or who/whatever because you might not be able to drive, ride a motorcycle, pass a sobriety checkpoint again (even though you haven’t taken a drink in YEARS! THANKS Vestibular System!) that’s not healthy! So my thought and my lesson has been to grieve, embrace the loss. Then pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, dry your tears and keep moving forward and welcome the new normal!
How have you welcomed your new normal? Leave a comment down below and let us know how?