Back on the road and not white-knuckling the steering wheel…

After a much needed rest stop, I’m finally back behind the steering wheel. Even though there may be some challenging parts ahead in my current course, I feel confident my navigational skills will get me where I need to be.

The next phase of my “so-called life” has officially begun…

In October 2011, I could no longer ignore that my marriage was on a destructive course. I had known that the relationship was very strained between my husband and me. However, when my 6-year-old son shared with me the turmoil he was struggling with due to the relationship he had with his dad, I knew a drastic change of course was necessary.

Fortunately, both of my parents were there for me and my children when I actually took the action to leave my husband in November 2011. I had too optimistically hoped back in October that our separation would be temporary– that my husband would leave the house while we all sought out counseling to sort things out and take the time to heal. However, after a month of promising to leave and seek therapy, my husband never followed through. But, I did. Ironically, the moment when I felt most like a grown-up was when at 34, I moved back to my hometown at my parents’ house with two little ones in tow.

From November 2011-June 2012, the pace of our new course really sped up. I secured a a decent full-time position almost immediately after relocating. Despite moving away and starting a new school, my son made great strides in counseling learning how to appropriately manage the emotional turmoil that had been overwhelming him.  Additionally,  my son went from struggling to read at his 1st grade level, to ending the school year reading at a 4th grade level. Yes, this detour proved to be emotionally exhausting–but my son and I became happier people somehow.

Yet, in June 2012, life was about to take another sudden detour– the kind you are forced to take because the road you were driving on ends, marked by the jarring parade of  fluorescent orange signs,flags and flashing sirens .  It’s the obvious result of the road meeting with a catastrophic event. And it was such an occurrence that happened to our family in the end of June.

While I worked full-time, I was fortunate to have my mom (my best friend, in fact) take care of my children. With her watching my children, I could work with my mind at ease, knowing that my children would not be lacking in the love and attention a mom could provide. However, my mother was also a Type-1 Diabetic, and had already lost both her legs and suffered many complications as the disease ravaged her body. For the two years prior, she hadn’t had any major health issues. In fact, she was more active and healthy than she had ever been. But on June 25, she had a typical episode of a her blood sugar bottoming out– the kind she would always bounce back from in a day or two at most. It was with that mindset that I took it for granted that this event wasn’t anything my mom couldn’t overcome. I was sorely mistaken. On June 27, while at home she took a sudden turn–and I knew when I dialed 911 that this trip to ER was not going to have the typical outcome. She slipped away right in front of me– we were just loading the car to take my mom to the hospital, when my mom went from conscious and talking to completely unresponsive.

It was 1 pm, when I made that fateful call. It was then I already knew by the wrenching of my gut that I would never get to tell my mom “I love you” or even “good-bye”. At 10:22 pm, I got confirmation of what truth my heart already knew. It was that moment and every one that has come since that has really shown me what as a “grown-up” I was truly capable of doing.

We were not prepared in any way for her sudden death, emotionally and financially. My dad and I were given till the end of March 2013 to find another home–the home that was purchased as a gift for my parents needed to be sold ASAP. I could not afford reliable childcare that could accommodate my awkward work schedule–and my work was not able to offer me a schedule that the one childcare source I had available could offer. During the summer and fall of 2012, I found myself facing unemployment, homelessness, while maintaining some semblance of normalcy for my children.

Today, all of the uncertainty presented courtesy of that detour is finally in my rear-view mirror. I found my voice and my sense of direction. My children and I are enjoying a home we can call our own, free of eggshell carpeting. And I am enjoying the fruits of my resourcefulness, as I free-lance my talents and appreciate this time to truly explore my vocational endeavors.

As I continue to drive away from the wreckage of the past– with its reflection continuing to get smaller and smaller in my rear-view mirror– I know that the reflection will always be there even when my eye can no longer discern it. I know there will be moments when I will want to focus on that image, momentarily losing my focus on the road ahead. The key word here is “momentary”. By always remembering to keep my attention on the drive and how my hands are steering wheel– I will keep what I have already overcome where it belongs, and not coming up on me later to splatter across my windshield.
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