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The Heart of The Matter

So 2018 has been a rather challenging year. It feels like I have been tested to my core over the last few years. Just when I think life is going smoothly a little (or big surprise) comes along to shake me or wake me or rattle me just a little bit more.

Our family has had a few heart issues this year, mid January we lost our beautiful, kind and gentle aunt to a heart attack. Leaving us shocked, bewildered and asking questions like seriously, WTF just happened? Three weeks before we had all been sitting around the Christmas table together having a lovely jovial Christmas Day lunch. In the blink of an eye we were at her funeral.

A mere three months later my dad was on the operating table having his heart repaired. There’s always a risk when someone has major open heart surgery you don’t know how it will go or what will happen. Having lost our mum not quite 5 years earlier, my brothers and I were plunged into a fearful state of unknowing. Suddenly the man who had been my rock for the last 33 years was in a major state of fragility. Life came crashing to a halt. Time seemed to stop, tears flowed. We said goodnight and “good bye” to our beautiful, brave Dad the night before the op. Sleep was evasive. Mind games ensued. The next day was blur of aimless grocery shopping, anti-anxiety meds and endless waiting for the phone to ring, trying to get through the 6 hours that he was under the knife. At last the call came from the kind and brilliant surgeon to say all was OK. The next 2 and a half weeks brought endless hospital visits, trying to be brave and strong is very difficult when watching your loved one in agonizing pain. Eventually 16 days later our dearest Dad came home. The first night home was what I would imagine is like bringing a baby home for the first time, I did not sleep a wink for fear of something happening. Fabulous Foxy cat set the alarm off at 2:30am and had us all running around like chickens without heads! Chaos ensued, it seemed to lighten the mood. We could finally breathe. Three weeks later we found ourselves back in hospital with some complications. After a week of tests and emotional melt downs we were back home once again, shattered, drained and running on empty. Slowly things improved Dad regained his strength, his spark and his zest for life. He really is a champ! Slowly we are beginning to find a new normal.

I have found myself thinking over the weeks along the lines of “when life gets back to normal” or “I must get back to normal”. When disaster strikes and life is turned upside there can be a tendency to put pressure on yourself to “get back to normal” and I have definitely noticed this in myself over the last couple of weeks. However I am coming to realize that there is no going back to how it was before. Life is not the same as it was before tragedy struck or the curve ball hit. You have to carve out a new normal. Change the way you do things, move forward not backwards. Perhaps that’s why these things happen, they come to wake us up, shake us out of our funk, to move us forward.

There is also the tendency to spiral down the rabbit hole. And this is to be expected and I think needs to happen as it is important to let ourselves feel our emotions but in doing so it’s common to get caught in the “why me” dilemma. And trust me I have been there – why me universe why me?? Why so much loss and heartache? Why can’t life just be smooth sailing now?

What we must remember is that when the curve balls come so does the help. I truly believe that the Universe will not give you something you cannot handle and she will always send help along the way. Be it in the form of a friend, a stranger with a kind comment just when you need it, a book, or even a nudge in the right direction. I’ve had many divine winks from the Universe over the last couple of months reminding I am not alone. The most recent was a book I have been reading this week, Light is the New black by Rebecca Campbell, in it Campbell often reminds us that life is not happening to you, it’s happening for you. And every experience is an opportunity for growth and leading you further along your path, bringing you closer to your purpose. Without everything I have been through I could not do the work I do, and I am so grateful for everything that has led me to find my calling which I am privileged enough to call my job. I am so lucky, thank you thank you thank you.

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