Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Forward and Back

Monday, July 25, 2016
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Yesterday was my son’s 16 birthday. The day before, he applied for, and got, his first hourly paying job. In two weeks, he will get his driver’s license, and in three he will be driving himself to school solo. Big changes are happening in our household. I’m happy and proud of where he is at, and yet at the same time, I have a fear of the unknown future and where we are headed. When he was younger, it was easier to feel like I understood what needed to be done, and how to help him. With more maturity comes more freedom, and my role as mom is changing, as it has so many times before.
Yesterday we also had a loss of power that resulted in me and my boys bailing storm water out of the drain tile sump to prevent the basement from flooding, as our back up battery pump malfunctioned, and our generator suffered a cracked hose or blown gasket that resulted in gas leaking everywhere. Thankfully our power was restored in time to get the sump pump working, and we cleaned up the ensuing mess left from preventing an even bigger mess from occurring.
I couldn’t sleep last night. My mind was full of thoughts of how our lives would be so different if Joe was still here. July 16th was 8 years since he’s passed, and I am still trying to navigate this being in charge of everything alone. As my sons helped me in a frantic attempt to keep the water from overflowing, it reminded me how it still sometimes feels like I am fighting to keep my head above water. I’m much better than I used to be, but I get frustrated with myself for feeling weak and wanting to be dependent on someone. I used to have the luxury of having a spouse who knew how to do everything, who told me “that’s what I’m here for” when I asked him to teach me how to do things, who made me feel falsely secure in thinking that I would always have someone here in crisis to help.
My son is growing into a man. I see things in him that remind me so much of his father. It comforts me that in his own way, he is able to take care of me in dire circumstances and participate in ways that actually help, rather than make it more difficult as it did when he was younger and had good intentions but couldn’t really make an impact.  In a few short years he will be embarking on his own journey into adulthood, and that will once again leave me to take care of myself without backup. Much like my battery and generator failed me in a crisis, even the best of emergency planning and forward thinking can sometimes fail and set you back. I guess I’m realizing that no matter how much you think you have prepared for life, it has a way of throwing you back and forth, and the most important thing you can do is to keep getting up, dusting yourself off, and trying to figure out the next plan B. Does anything ever really turn out the way we planned? Most likely not. I have learned things about myself that I might otherwise have never known, so I try to keep that in mind when the chaos ensues. Life isn’t easy, but I’m glad I’m still here with the opportunity to keep on trying, no matter how much of a struggle it can sometimes be. 

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