I woke up and didn’t want to get out of bed. It was just too much to take. I wanted to hide from the difficulties that were in front of me. Although things were not that bad right now, I anticipated things were going to get much much worse.
My dad is ill and it isn’t likely that he will fully recover. He’s 89 but his ‘long life’ does not make it any easier. He’s my dad and I love him. Although we have our differences, he’s my dad. He’s larger than life and the man who knows best. If I lose him, I lose a rudder in my life. This will upset my apple cart to cosmic proportions.
That morning my best move was to roll up in a ball, pull the covers over my head, and keep my eyes closed. I didn’t want to get out of bed. The warmth of my comforter held me safe but also a prisoner.
I turned towards the heavens, “Can I just fast forward to a time where my parents are gone and the grieving will have had turned into wisdom and compassion for others? Do I have to walk through these murky waters of failing health, sadness, grief, and an undetermined amount of time for healing? Can’t I please just skip this?”
My husband, Mike, came in and sat down. I told him I didn’t want to get out of bed. Having sensed my mood he answered, ‘you don’t have to. I have eggs and mango juice for you.’ Sigh. Could I feel any greater love? Was he going to help me pull off this impossible feat and allow me to stay in bed until this all passed? I ate my breakfast and snuggled into his arms.
I'm not the first person to fear the future and I certainly won’t be the last. The enormity of the situation paralyzed me that morning. It was difficult just to get out of bed.
Mike confirmed that this was hard. The food settled into my stomach and it helped me feel better. I had been catastrophizing every moment moving forward, projecting all the pain I was going to feel, and rolling it all up into a ball that I held as a pillow in my bed. With his support and perspective, I could now face the day. I'm so grateful for him knowing what I needed; food, perspective, and love.
We’ve all be in a place that feels like it’s just all too much to take.
Staying underneath the covers doesn’t work.
Staying in the moment does.
Thinking about all the difficulty ahead doesn’t help.
Being grateful for what is true right now does.
Fighting those close to us because we're in pain doesn’t help.
Acknowledging our hurt and asking for help does.
What Will You Say to Yourself?
Do you have a situation that’s gotten the best of you? We can all reach our emotional limit at times. You’re not alone. The question is, in that moment, what are you going to say to yourself? Start by boiling your thoughts down to a few simple truths about the present. Ruminating about what ‘might’ happen next doesn't do any good but feed your fears and make your heart heavy. Next figure out something to be grateful for. It's almost impossible to be grateful and fearful at the same time. Finally, take any healthy support that's offered to you. Don't try to be tough or push away those that’ll always love you. Accept that you’re at your limit and need another person's help to get out of this funk.
My dad’s health will likely fail and I’ll see him die. It’s a cold and cruel reality. I’ll then sadly join the ranks of you who've gone through this same difficult chapter. But today I have him. Today I got out of bed and put my feet on the floor. Today I was able to go to a job and feel worthwhile. Today I have friends and family that accept me as I am. Today I am alive.