Day 55: 365 Days of Motivation

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
                                –Richard Bach

I have said this before, and I will say it again, this isn’t the end of you. It is the end of this chapter. This may be the end of the life you were living. It probably will be the end of you that existed before this event, but this is not the end of you.

Just like the caterpillar, chances are you have locked yourself away in your own cocoon. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think we all need that time. We need time to weep uncontrollably to the depths our lungs will allow. We need to lay still, nearly lifeless–feeling nothing but the pounding in our head. Lets be honest, we are no good to anyone in that moment anyway. Like the caterpillar, there will come a time when we need to emerge.

We need to be ready to grab our new station in life and figure out our place in the world. It’s a difficult and bitter moment that we leave the safety of our broken heart to face the new world we were thrust into. It’s easy to be angry, unsteady, and even unwilling. I can’t imagine it being anything other way than challenging–a challenge we never asked for–and certainly never agreed to take, yet here it is, staring us down.

When caterpillars emerge from their cramped cocoon, it takes them a little while, but they spread their wings and fly. Decide to take that challenge right now. Take a step out of that dark space and when you feel the fresh air, spread those wings and look at the colors you bring to the world. They’re there, I promise.

It is true this is different and something you never wanted–it isn’t going to be easy. People will look at you differently than before. Living alone is harder than you ever imagined. Not being able to share those day-to-day moments with your best friend will be one of the hardest things you will ever do–do it anyway. If you are open to living again, and committed to the process of rediscovery, you will have made the full transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. Possibilities are endless when you have learned to soar.

Holes in the Floor of Heaven

Holes in the floor of heaven.

My grandma and grandpa are getting older. I never thought it would happen, but it’s here. I have noticed them ‘slipping’ over the last few years. Now, it’s evident that dementia is present. My grandma seems to be slipping away faster than my grandpa. Normally I spend a day or two, unless there is something they need me for, like appointements. We have help that comes in nearly every day and then my mom does the rest of the caretaking. Lately, I have spent two days a week with my grandparents because the winter has brought on some extra depression for them. I have been there every day for the last 5 days, which is really hard with five children. It is easier when they are out of school, like now, but still takes a lot of time away from them.

I handle the mood swings, crying, and complaining in stride…most days. There are some days when it is hard to push aside the frustration. There are days that are so hard, when I get home, I want to do nothing, but sleep. Sometimes I’m a little short-tempered because I don’t have a lot left to give my family. Other times I am home for a few minutes before she is calling me needing me to walk her through how to use the remote, or wants to know why I wrote down a certain TV show for them to watch. It’s hard.

Some days are better than others. There used to be a big difference between a bad day and a good day. Now, the good days aren’t much better than the bad days.

December 30, I was on my way to see them. Grandma was having a really rough day. She has been crying often, not eating, and reeling in paranoia. All of that is dementia related.On the way to her house, I looked out over a farm field. The whole sky was full of these large rays of lights shining down on the thinning blanket of white.

I love it when the sky looks like this. I immediately think there really are holes in the floor of heaven. I always feel a feeling of peace wash over me. Whatever I am worried about, disappears. Whatever preoccupied me and keeps me out of focus, fades away. I’m instantly transfixed on the awesome beauty before me. The vast sky opens to let us see its infinite beauty and depth. How can that not be God?

I’m sure scientist and weather people have the reasons laid out, all scientific-like. And, they are right, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t God. They can share what they know all day, but for me, it isn’t what scientist know that gets me through the day–it’s what I believe. And I believe, God is ever-present. Those clouds making way for light is a reminder of just that. It’s as if his loving arms are reaching out for me. It brings me back to center.

It’s also an exact picture of my philosophies for life. The storm clouds give way to light. Pain gives way to release. And Grief gives way to life.  Maybe you see nothing, but dark clouds right now, but that doesn’t mean the light has disappeared. As you heal, the clouds will thin and part. Slowly, but surely, those clouds will give way to that warm light. The warm light will wrap around you and show you the beauty life brings.


Tell me, How Long Does it Take to Get Over Something Like That?

We have tried to sell Grandpa’s car for months now. We finally set up an appointment for an older couple to come look at it. The couple were nice enough. They did like to talk. After an hour of looking at the engine, driving it, crawling in the trunk, and trying to talk us down from a steal, we come to an agreement. They were going to take the car.

That’s when we discovered exactly how much this couple liked to talk. Some how the conversation moved from the car to how much space we have, to kids appreciation, to life can change in a moment. This is a statement that grates on me. It shouldn’t, but it does. It bothers me because no one knows my walk. Do not assume because I am 20 years your junior that I am lacking any sense of strife or experience. Assuming that just makes me absolutely crazy. I can’t help it. I instantly go in defense mode.

“Believe me, when your husband is killed by a drunk driver, you know and understand quite well exactly how fast life can change.”

He turned me and said something no one has ever asked me before, “Tell me, how long does it take to get over something like that?”

“Well…” I started as I glanced at my husband. Tim took over. “Never. You probably never get it.”

I nodded my head. “It’s just different. You just change. It changes you and the way you view it changes. Tim helped me. Without him, honestly, I probably couldn’t have done what I have done.”

The gentleman, still staring at Tim and I. “Hm. I just can’t imagine how hard that was. You made it, and did it together, and now you are married. That’s interesting.”

And, with that, we ended the subject as quickly as we found it.

The question was jarring to me because, Tim is right, it’s never over. It’s all the time, sometimes every day. Each time it comes up, it’s different. Sometimes, a smell or the weather set me in the wrong direction and it’s all tears. There are times, of course, when it comes up and I am fine. It just feels like a fact of life.

There is another reason I was shocked by his straightforward question. It’s because that question is nearly impossible to really answer. Impossible to explain it in a way that someone (who hasn’t been there) could understand. And, let’s be honest, much of the time the person doesn’t really care. They are just responding the way they think they should.

To answer that question, I have to decipher how much the person actually wants to know. Then, I have to give them a very concise answer that fits into the box they have created.

Just another example how fast the topic, and the feelings, rush into conversations. Ten years from now, that question, or others like it, will still give me pause.