I remember the morning I dropped my two youngest off for the first day of the their High School Sophomore year. The oldest had graduated, the middle guy would graduate at the end of the year and these two would not be far behind. I saw that empty nest and I wasn’t sure what it meant for me – a stay at home (mostly) business owner and tender of the home. A family chauffeur with only a two year degree and a few businesses under my belt. What would I do? What did I WANT to do? What would happen to me?
I remember the day my husband came home with a cup of coffee and asked me to sit down because he had “something he needed to tell me”. And I remember that two months after hearing he had prostate cancer my own surgeon told me over the phone that I had breast cancer. Breast cancer? My people get heart disease and diabetes. Definitely not cancer. Not at the same time my husband has cancer. Not fair. This must be a mistake.
I remember the day I learned my mother had acute leukemia. Only a few short weeks after I had finished treatment. Shock and disappointment. Worry and fear. How will she ever get through what I just got through?
There are days that freeze in our memory. Days when we know big changes are coming. We aren’t sure what those big changes will bring but we know that life isn’t going to be easy for a while. Mostly, we have no idea just how hard it is about to get and that might be a bit of a blessing.
Life gets hard. BIG changes come. And then it gets HARDER.
We can feel beaten, cheated and like life is totally unfair. We can feel overwhelmed some days and like there is no end in sight. But there are days when the sun shines so brightly in our own soul that we know that (eventually, hopefully soon) everything will be all right again. And that bit of sunshine gives us what we need to make it through a few more days.
Here is a paragraph I posted on my private Facebook wall a couple of weeks ago.
I’ve been doing incredible amounts of “interior landscaping” since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and going through treatment. It just seemed to be the time for this work. The teachers and the lessons have shown up and I was willing to learn.
There has been much heavy lifting emotionally, energetically and spiritually, so much hard work, writing, tears, walking and talking. Therapy, Reiki, Mindfulness and Meditation, openness, vulnerability, seeing the fear and pain and facing it head on. Looking honestly at myself and my life and dealing with the thoughts and feelings that came along. Apologizing, making amends and forgiving when needed.
It has been incredible and today was a capstone kind of day. The day where the whole tornado swirled around and I found the sunshine … in my self. The day where I realized that I’ve given my power away far too frequently and I reached out and took it back. The day I realized I’m worthy of love, gentle care and kindness.
Today is the day I learned how precious I am and my life is.
Power restored. A sense of calm and peace prevails.
Gratitude for the teachers, the lessons and the hard work.
What would I like you to understand from what I’ve written?
It’s just this.
You did it.
Close your eyes and think back to the times when life got really hard. You’ve been there. More than once, likely.
You got through it.
Hard things will come again in the future. It’s the price we pay for being here. Lots of happiness and joy and also times of utter destruction.
You will get through it.
Gather. Gather your people for support. Church, friends, family and professionals. Get your wagons in a circle and prepare to do what needs doing.
Find. Find ways to cope. Humor, art, writing, cooking, exercise – whatever works for you and helps you deal with the hard things in life.
Listen. Listen to your heart, your spirit, the universe. Listen for guidance, comfort, gratitude and peace.
Look. Look for the teachers who will appear. Those who will help guide you. Those you can travel with for a bit.
Be. Be thankful in the face of hardship, it is not easy but it is necessary. Be willing to open your heart to others. Be willing to ask for help. Be willing to accept help when it is needed.
Dealing with Hard Times and Big Changes is something that can make us better, stronger and more loving. If we let them.