They come at the strangest times, usually unexpectedly, and without immediate clarity that will help you understand the impact those moments will have on your life.
One of those enlightening thunderbolts happen 13 years ago with an early morning phone call from my sister.
“Dad has died.”
As I put the phone down, I shook my head in confusion, trying to understand what was happening to my world. I felt the ground shift beneath me as if an earthquake was ripping my emotional support system apart, leaving me unbalanced, confused and questioning.
“Is there a Plan to all of this?” I wondered.” If so, it would be nice to have some instructions on how to proceed.”
No answer came, so I got out of bed and began planning two funerals .
You see, Dad’s death came just 36 hours after I watched my husband’s life slip into another realm, leaving me saddened and wanting to share his future journeys. My Mother had passed some 10 months earlier, and I was still grieving the loss of the woman who gave me life and spent 61 years teaching, aggravating, confusing, infuriating, loving and molding me.
I wasn’t without support. I had a sister who cared deeply for me, a sister who didn’t, many friends, close and distant, adult stepchildren who adored their father and encircled me with their love and understanding, and a doglet who looked for the Alpha Male to return.
I was not alone, but my pillars had crumbled. I was standing in the rubble still searching for answers about this sudden rupture in my life, and how to maneuver through the confusion and grief.
I can now fast forward 13 plus years, and see that my life has changed. I’ve grieved, I’ve grown, I’ve learned, and I am alive and well, living my life alone and with confidence.
I never knew I could live alone. I thought I needed a partner: to help me, to protect me, to complete me. It had never occurred to me that I didn’t need a protector, a helper, or someone who would make me whole.
I am fine without that particular crutch. For the first time in my life I am free. Free to be, do, think, choose, with the full knowledge that I am okay.
I’m acutely aware I don’t live in an isolated bubble. Friends, family, community give me a sense of connection. I’m alone, but certainly not lonely.
I have learned I like my own company.
I have learned I have a voice that is mine.
I have learned doors open and close, and I can choose the rooms I want to enter and those I want to leave.
I am learning everyday to be me.
The support system I lost was needed until it wasn’t.
There was, after all, a plan. And I’m enjoying fine tuning that plan.