I’ve been reflecting lately on a feeling that has followed me around – a little ache, a little discontented, a searching for something that I can’t pinpoint. I feel the urge to do, go, change and yet none of that is a real – or permanent – possibility in this season of my life. Not in any grand sense anyway.
The other night I was laying in bed, exhausted from the day, listening for Char who tends to wake up bawling at 11:30 every night like clockwork (poor little thing has no idea she’s even awake most of the time), and I felt frustrated with myself and my own worries and wants. My own pettiness.
As my thoughts unraveled, I realized something. Something I think many of us feel once we’ve been through a life-altering circumstance or a massive trauma.
I’m frustrated with myself, my worries, my cares, my fears, my anxiety, my jealousy, my humanity –
because deep down in my subconscious I think I should have it together by now.
I realize on a rational level this is impossible, no one has it together or not for any length of time anyway. But I think there’s the expectation that eventually, we will. When our marriage is stronger. When our kids are grown. When we have more self-control. When we are more educated.
But being thrust into trauma after trauma for three years and working so hard on healing and growth – I guess I simply expected myself to have my crap together a little more.
Apparently, I should have reached nirvana, or a level under that at least, with all the stuff we’ve dealt with. Pre-nirvana. 😉
I know I’ve grown. I know I’ve changed. I do see how much and realize certain things are different for me now. It’s just that I thought it would be more of that. After holding my babies when they died, after watching them suffer, after surviving the aftermath of that and more twice – I thought I would be a new person. Forever.
It’s tricky because there was a time like this. For the first few weeks/months after a trauma like ours, you tend to go into survival mode. Nothing and no one else really matters who isn’t helping you. You feel almost invincible because the pain of loss is so deep, there isn’t much else that can compare. I cut ties with some friends and family without even blinking – because they were horrible during that time to us, but also because those relationships were something that needed dealt with long before. I’d had enough. I made choices about what I wanted to spend my time on. Threw myself into writing. Poured my soul into motherhood. Worked hard at making sure my son’s lives mattered in some huge way.
But then time passed and those powerful feelings died down, and while I don’t regret most of the decisions I made during those periods, I do wish more of that had come with me. More ability to stand up for myself, or to shrug things off a little easier, or to feel the surge of adrenaline in creating and writing. More organized, stable, and peaceful; a person who really seemed to know what she was doing in and wanted out of life.
Yet as I write this, I think of how many other things have slowly changed with time. Much of it through therapy. My ability to slow down and see someone else’s viewpoint more than I would have before this. The sensitivity I gained to someone else’s grief and loss perspective. I can honestly say that my entire view on life itself changed, and while I can get caught up in the day-to-day, there are many more moments I find myself pondering God and life’s meaning than I ever did before.
The thing is, there is no answer for this. There certainly is no quick fix – or even a fix. I’ll never have it all together. Silly things are probably always going to bother me. I am always going to wish I could do more or be better – and yet I have to remind myself of all the progress I have made. Life has made me slow down because much of what I did in a rush was to avoid the pain of losing them. Maybe I’m not where I think I “should” be, but I’m further towards that person than I was before this all happened. Maybe that’s all I needed to know. I’m just partially altogether forever.