There was no lightbulb moment. No sudden epiphany. No proverbial crashing into a brick wall.
It just all came undone. Years of keeping busy, filling every moment with projects. Finished or left incomplete, I moved on from task to task as fast as taking a breath. I never stopped.
How did I get here? You know that voice; the one that whispers to you when you are making choices? Mine whispered just loud enough for the busyness of every day to drown her out. She eventually decided I wasn’t listening, so she amped up ways to get my attention. (Ummm, thank you?!)
I was a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom. There was always a bit of me that seemed to fall to the wayside. Don’t get me wrong; my gang of kiddos put the greatest sparkle in my eyes. While they are my biggest critics, over the years I am learning that they are also some of my biggest supporters. That being said, I gave more and more of me to those around me, while leaving an ever-growing emptiness inside. I was alone in a full house.
I got sick. Really sick. The kind where you see that no matter what you are doing, you only have one life. It became clearer quite quickly that I could not take a step further living life the way I was. But I pushed on, continuing to go through the motions. It only proved to be more isolating. There were no answers for what was going on with me physically, and mentally I began the ultimate shut down.
During this terrifying time of seeing my truth, my mom passed after a tremendous battle with cancer. I was a grown woman who woke one day to be without the only person I so desperately needed. Within the months that followed, I let go of a lot of who I identified with, including – though silly as it was – my childhood home. I felt as though I belonged nowhere, and had no safe haven to escape to. It is strange; my mom is what made the building a home, but even time spent there without her was comforting. It was the only place unchanged where I could feel her.
Meanwhile, my own health issues continued. I underwent more tests and specialist visits until I was handed answers. Ahhh bitter sweet. Now I had a diagnosis and I knew what category I should stand in; but it was too much information to take in and comprehend.
Could there be anything else? My marriage was over. In truth, I knew it was collapsing. For a long time, I had some sense of the potential of this relationship ending. Perhaps that knowledge made the support I did not receive a bit easier to take. But what was I going to do living in a small town with no education, few friends, and seven kids? I kept swallowing my fate. At my lowest point I had looked into ways to escape, checking to see if the insurance would pay should I choose to end all of it. I even went so far as to take too many of the doctor-prescribed medication. Thankfully and by the grace of God, I got violently ill; not so poetically, my body decided to remove what I had so greedily taken in an arena parking lot – while my son was skating inside at his hockey practice, blissfully unaware.
Something finally clicked with my ex and he moved out. I took full breaths for the first time in my adult life.
Somewhere, somehow, I was going to survive.
Things were not easy, there were times when I believed I would never have peace; I thought he would hold anything over me to continue to make me second guess that tiny voice in my mind. I was afraid he would win by simply wearing me down.
That was almost four years ago. When I look back I can clearly see all of the bright spots that kept revealing themselves to me. People continually seemed to be placed in my life to lead me and give me strength at the exact moment I needed it. Call it what you will….I believe it has been my mom. She had a stubborn streak longer than a month of Sundays, and a fierce, enduring love for my sister and me. She has pushed me beyond limits I never imagined.