Life is full of unexpected twists and turns – and sometimes tornadoes – that propel you into tiny split shards and broken pieces you never imagined you’d find yourself in. I’ve learned that pain is real, and so is hope.
The past 6 months, when my daughter became unwell, shattered my sense of “normal” and sent me cascading into depths of uncertainty, fear, pain, and sadness that I never knew could exist before, and somewhere, way deep down there, in the dismal cracks of indescribable darkness – I found bits and pieces of light – I also found parts of myself.
So here’s some of what have I learned and continue to learn daily that may help and inspire you through your own challenges where we would give anything to “fix” things for your child, but they are ultimately not yours to fix…
Firstly, your health is something to treasure every minute of every day. Never ever take it for granted.
(Just waking up and going to school or work might seem like something you don’t think twice about – I see it now as a victorious celebration of a really good morning).
As a parent, you know your child better than anyone. If your instinct tells you something is off, trust it unapologetically.
It’s OK to not know and be in the discomfort of uncertainty – as much as it is agonizing. Be there. And just sit in that space. And hold that space respectfully for someone else too.
Choose your people wisely. We’re surrounded by angels just disguised as family and friends.
Complete strangers are angels too. Trust me. I’ve met plenty!
Faith can set you free.
Thinking way out the box may seem crazy to many people – but sometimes the best and only possibilities are found out there.
Talk to God, a lot, and often.
You are allowed to cry.
We are so much stronger than we think.
Balloons are just so much fun at any age!
A thoughtful gesture can literally transform someone’s entire day – don’t underestimate the power of a sincere and heart-filled surprise.
It’s OK to not explain yourself – sometimes you need as much time as you need to figure things out – know you’re loved anyway.
People genuinely care – deeply.
We all have our own measurement of “doing our best” – let’s never judge or criticize what someone’s best is. We can never really know. Some days, just getting out of bed is a huge accomplishment.
Messages and miracles are everywhere – look for them. You’ll find them in the most unassuming places.
No matter how old you are, everything is just better when you have your mom and dad with you.
Believing is part of healing.
The sea certainly makes everything better. Even for a few minutes.
No matter how utterly tired you feel, you’ll never regret working out.
I’ve learned that change is the only constant in our lives and accepting this enables us to embrace all the opportunities and blessings that change inevitably creates necessary space for.
I’ve learned that pain is real, and so is hope.
I’ve learned that just because you can’t see something, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. This is true for people, faith and pain.
I’ve learned that healing may look like complete destruction and devastation from the outside.
I’ve learned that our definition of a boring normal day just might be the most blessed gift we could be fortunate enough to unwrap. Don’t ever dismiss a “regular” day.
I’ve learned that people may let you down and disappoint you but other people will also surprise you in ways you never imagined possible with unconditional love, friendship, and care that knows no bounds.
I’ve learned that being kind is far more important than being right.
I’ve learned that we can’t rush any process and that some things, like growing a flower, need a lot of patience to bloom.
I’ve learned we can never have enough patience.
I’ve learned that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes requires more than just switching places. It means we must become them, in every way, feel what they feel, see what they see, and do what they do. Only then can we truly understand what real empathy is all about?
I’ve learned that your children know a lot more than you. And it’s important to stay humble.
I’ve learned that both sweat and tears make every day that much better.
I’ve learned that asking for and accepting help are both signs of tremendous strength.
I’ve learned a new version of courage bravery and heroism. Sometimes we must revisit our definitions. It’s ok to change your mind about something or someone.
I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I’ve learned that there is always another way and if a door is shut closed; find a new, different, creative way in. There is always another way.
I’ve learned that it’s OK to not know. Some things can be filed away for a very long while in the “I don’t know folder”.
I’ve learned that love can’t solve everything but it makes anything bearable.
I’ve learned that really listening to someone is the highest form of validation and respect.
I’ve learned that being scared is part of grief. And mourning is subjective to the human condition. We each move through it in our own ways. There is not just one way.
I’ve learned that our bodies and minds are miraculous and what you may just take for granted, some people are literally praying for.
I’ve learned the value of time and money. And what time enables and money can and can’t buy.
I’ve learned that rest is essential and self-care is unequivocally non-negotiable.
I’ve learned that ‘no’ is a full sentence. (Without the need for elaboration or justification)
I’ve learned that we are stronger than we think and we can actually do very difficult things.
I’ve learned that laughter, coffee, dancing, sunsets, and the sea – are really good for me.
I’ve learned that family and friends are irreplaceable. (And that we must be scrupulously careful who we let close into our sacred space).
I’ve learned we can embrace paradox and actually celebrate and feel joy, even if we are suffering.
I’ve learned that when things fall apart, they may shockingly fall into place.
I’ve learned when we fall down, there is something there for us to find.
I’ve learned that when it’s G-d vs. Murphy, His law always wins 1-0.
I’ve learned that we need to learn how to breathe properly. Breathing is a total game-changer.
I’ve learned that every person is different and we can never ever judge someone for fighting their battles differently to us.
I’ve learned just how good gratitude is for you.
I’ve learned that all I can do when things are so far beyond my control is let go of how I can try “fix” things, and focus more on how to just be there and love my children with every single bit of me.
I’ve learned to find beautiful, meaningful, healthy and practical ways to keep reminding myself, that even in these difficult times, through countless sleepless nights, while I lie awake wishing that my love is enough to fix things, some things aren’t mine to fix, and love is enough. Trust me, its plenty – in fact, it’s everything.