Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Roller Coaster Emotions
It is halfway through the first month of 2020 and it has already been a roller coaster of a ride.
When the new year hit, I was ready to take off running. However, the reality is that my pace didn't magically change when those digits clicked over. I have to accept that it is still winter, I am still planning and great transformation doesn't happen overnight.
I wasn't moving fast, but I was moving. I felt like I was making headway into what I want to become as a publisher.
Then my family got a slap in the face. My father-in-law was sick. Not in the way that he has been sick for the last twenty plus years with a lack of motor skills due to an ancient episode of cardiac arrest. No this time he was really sick and it wasn't the flu like they originally thought.
Suddenly the business side of me shut down. None of it seemed to matter. All I could think about was making sure my husband, his mom and siblings were able to go to Boston to say goodbye. Then all I could do was sit at home a wait while our world changed around me.
Death is a big transformer. Things were going to change, but in what way?
That is still being decided in many ways. But for me, the experience helped to me understand that I am strong and I have a presence even when I am not physically in a location.
I could not go to Boston because we didn't want the kids to be traumatized by the state of their grandfather, which they've only seen a few times in their lives to begin with. The other reason was pure logistics. A surprise trip for four who all have to fly is not a lighthearted ordeal. We needed the resources for them and I needed to stay home with our daughter.
The important fact here, one that I reassured myself as well as by others was that I was wanted there. I had to gracefully accept the fact that I was not able to go through this experience with my partner. I mourned once for my father-in-law during this week and once for our separation through this crisis.
I learned this week that my husband can do what he needs to do and so can I. We are strong, capable and loved. Though we were not able to talk much, when we did, it mattered. We grew closer because even though we were not in the same place, we could still draw on a strength that the other one offered just by being in our life. This was a beautiful understanding - to be independently together.
I am so thankful to all of the people who reached out to me during this week.
I didn't know how to handle my emotions. My father-in-law was a good man, but I hardly knew him. He has been the background in our story for many years, but his leading role happened when my husband and his siblings were just kids. They have had years to come to a sort of peace about their dad and why he is only on the outskirts of our lives. For me it was another graceful acceptance. I mourned him and celebrated him, but our days would continue much in the same manner as before.
Or would they?
Death is a big transformer, but transformation is truly a shift in perspective. The effect of these events is still unfolding for my family. We are glad to be reunited and share in the many emotions this event has brought up.
I am proud of myself throughout this crisis. I upheld my commitment to emotional stability even through a great challenge. I decided to trust and focus on my own emotional health. I spent a lot of time in meditation. I cried and I laughed without judgment.
The most guilt came from pausing production of my business. I kept the lights running, so to speak, but my head was not in my work. I felt completely stalled in my business and creativity. I had to realize that this was okay and it was more important to stop and process the moment at hand.
I needed to be where I was.
I was hurting.
My old story of "I'm not enough" was hit hard when I couldn't be with my family. I felt like my grief didn't matter because I was here and he wasn't even my dad. I felt separated from the ones I loved who were hurting. I wanted so badly to reach out and hug my partner and my extended family. \
They each had to cope in their own way. I accepted that I had to cope in mine. I did a lot of coloring pages. I read a book. I played a lot of games with my daughter. I cooked cookies and ate more of them than I should. I also slept a lot. Still, I handled myself with grace. I feel good at the end of it all because I stayed steady and on a positive path.
I learned I am enough all over again. I learned that my in-laws love me and thought I "should" be there. That meant more to me than anything. I am accepted. I am loved. My feelings matter.
It is only halfway through the first month of 2020. I know that this is going to be a big year of change. I can already see our perspectives shifting. I can already see that will find a way to create a joyful life for ourselves. We are able to let go of what holds us back and get out of our own way.
Stephen Gerard McCusker, Sr will truly be missed. I am thankful for what he meant to so many and that he brought my wonderful husband into the world. He is now released of any pain and his last gift was to bring his family together and also set us free.
With a big breath and a few tears, we continue into 2020 - a year of balance and power. Progress doesn't always take a linear line. Move through your emotions and you may be surprised at the quiet strength transformation brings. Change is not comfortable, but it is how we grow.
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