|My Dad & I, three months before he died.|
So, here I am… almost 37-years-old and most days I feel like I am nowhere near figuring it all out or even figuring most of it out.
|My Dad & I in 2000|
If you asked me just a few years ago about my ability to figure it all out, I would have been pretty confident that I was a competent figure-outer. At that time, I seemed to be successfully managing it all: motherhood, marriage and career. I could juggle graduate school with my children’s school schedules; I could balance sleep deprivation with enough energy to spend quality time with my children; I could work most days and still love my job; I could stay calm even when my children’s behavior was not—um- ideal. I thought I had it all pretty together.
And then I learned my lesson, the tough way.
My 35th year of life was my toughest thus far. My father was diagnosed with cancer just before that birthday, and I helped him battle the disease as best I could, but he passed away six months later. Those were the most difficult six months I had ever known, but the time that followed his death were even more challenging. I was totally unprepared to lose my dad. So much for being able to handle it all and looking good while doing it!
My dad’s death threw off my well achieved balance and perhaps more significantly the misconception that I could keep such a balance going, indefinitely.
|My Dad & I on my wedding day.|
Life has taught me that I am good at lots of things, but grieving is not one of them. I am a terrible griever: My moods are erratic and unpredictable; I commonly fall victim to the uncontrollable ugly cry; and I over-think, constantly (should I have made different choices in his treatment? Would he really want me to find joy without him?). Some people are good at grieving because they want to be cheered up and they want to run towards those they love… I am the opposite; I seek solace in time alone and many days I simply don’t feel like feeling better. There is a line from one of my favorite songs by Chris Pureka, “We’re in love with our sadness sometimes” and until this year I might not have understood it, but now that line resonates with me; I live it some days.
But here’s what I am finally learning at 36 and ¾: There is not a right or wrong way to do most things, including grieving; and I am “doing grieving” my way, which is the right way for me.
So, now well into my 30s, I have learned that my goal should not be figuring it all out or doing things “right.” I am learning that just as soon as I think I have it all figured out, life will surely send me a curveball and teach me otherwise. So, maybe figuring it all out really comes down to figuring out that you can never actually figure it all out. Life is full of challenges as well as precious moments; it is full of days that flow and days that don’t; it is full of the predictable and the unexpected; it is full of deep joy and tremendous sorrow; and life is glorious because it is always unfolding somewhat mysteriously and simply can’t all be figured out the way I had thought (and probably hoped) in my younger years.
Although, I would have surely preferred my lessons come in an easier form, I know that from my dad’s death and the grief that has followed, I have learned a great life lesson.
|My Dad & I when I was five-years-old.|
Meredith Resnick is a Mother, Learning Specialist, Teacher, Blogger and Seeker (although she is not certain of the most appropriate order for these titles).
In addition to her professional work, Meredith is the mom of three wonderful kids (ages 9, 6 and 5 years old) that teach her, guide her, frustrate her, move her, keep her sleep deprived and make her feel special. She maintains the blog A Mother Seeking about the journey of motherhood and the pursuit of joy as well as issues in education and learning.