It has been 5 years now since my dad died. I cannot begin to tell you how hard his death was. I was devastated when he died. He was my hero. Since his death I have lost my father in law, aunt, cousin and ultimately my best friend my husband Mike.
One of the most important things I learned when my dad died was that waiting for “normal” to return was futile. I kept waiting for things to get back on an even keel. For life to show me some sort of resemblance to what it had been. Then one morning I was blessed to actually hear the words “this is your new normal.” It was life changing.
When we have life changing events happen, a death of a loved one, a divorce, an accident, it doesn’t matter what the event is, it changes our lives. We often wait for our lives to get back to normal. What we don’t see at the time is that our lives are now presenting us with our “new normal.” We never get to go back to the way things were before the event. It is a hard pill to swallow most of the time. It is heart breaking. We crave the normal that we knew. As humans we are not good with change. We are creatures of comfort.
I was very fortunate that I learned this lesson when my dad died. I am not sure I would have been as prepared as I was when Mike passed without this lesson. You see there are many things that shift and change when your spouse dies. It is different than any other death you have been through. All of a sudden your life as you knew it is no longer. You no longer have that person to talk to, to turn to when you are happy, sad, angry or any other emotion you can think of. When you crawl in bed at night there is an emptiness that is indescribable. You are use to having your person there and all of a sudden there is no snoring, no breathing noises to lull you to sleep. The world is different. You adjust, no doubt, but knowing that this is your new normal helps alleviate some of the waiting for things to return to what they were.
We don’t necessarily have to like the new normal that we find ourselves in. Embracing it gives us the opportunity to move forward. It isn’t always easy and there are days when it seems impossible. You take one step forward and three steps back but the next day is a new day and you awaken and try again.
We move forward whether we want to or not. Life continues to go on. The birds still sing. The sun still rises and sets. We still continue to breathe and we live. The alternative is not an option so embracing the life we have and finding a new comfort zone is what we strive for. As we do so we create our new normal and somewhere in that normal we find laughter, love, yearning and life again. There is always sadness but we befriend our grief and live again.
Finding your new normal does not mean you ever forget. You never forget what came before, you just accept that your life has changed and what was is no longer. You have changed, your life has changed and the future you once dreamed of has changed. It is alright, you will dream a new future. You will live your life and move on, you just won’t forget what was.
Have you found your new normal? It is this journey we call life and at some point we will all face finding it. May your “new normal” bring you solace and happiness.
In Her Service,