Category: Coping & Grief

Finding Christmas in My Recalculated Life

Christmas is gearing up around my house and I’m pretty excited about it. Honestly, I love everything about the holidays. From the anticipation to the decorating to the traditions to the music, it’s the time of year that I feel the most grounded. For six weeks or so I have a pretty good idea of what to expect out of life; it is predictable and it is comforting. So yes, I am one of those people who breaks out the Christmas songs and decorations in November because it allows me to breathe. I can think to myself “OK, we did it. We made it to another Christmas”. With all of the change that has happened, the holidays are still familiar and welcoming; a feeling of coming home again. And even though I still get so much joy out of this season, I can’t help but feel moments of loss as well for all of the reasons that my favourite time of year is now different. Continue reading “Finding Christmas in My Recalculated Life”

Relinquishing Control

I like to be in control. I always have. It’s probably part of the reason why my mother-in-law and I took so long to forge a meaningful relationship. If there’s one thing you don’t want when you are a bit of a control freak mama, it’s a control freak daughter-in-law; a recipe for potential disaster. But somehow we make it work (love you Grammy). But beyond that, control has always grounded me and helped me to navigate through the fog of anxiety. Believing that I was consistently in control of my own situation allowed me to feel safer in a world that has continually left me trembling. I think it is part of the reason I hate flying so much – the lack of control. Then there were the aspects to control that I never took time to think about because they were – as I believed – non-negotiable; the control of my own body. To relinquish control of something can be challenging. But to have it taken from you is like having the ground disappear from underneath you – trust me, I know the feeling all too well. Continue reading “Relinquishing Control”

Lost in Anger on the Path to Acceptance

Anger. The second stage in the infamous five stages of grief. I always assumed you travelled through the progression of grief only once until you reached acceptance: the light at the end of the tunnel. I have since learned that grief is not neat and tidy like that; it is messy and unpredictable. In saying that, I seem to cycle through all five stages repeatedly and, frequently, out of the expected order. I imagine that one day I will settle on acceptance but, for now, I continue to ride my grief out in waves and currently find myself stuck on anger. Continue reading “Lost in Anger on the Path to Acceptance”

2 comments

Recapturing Lost Moments

Recapturing Lost Moments

When you have children, there are a countless number of firsts. As parents, we carefully document every first as though our little ones’ childhoods depend on knowing the exact date that they first smiled. We track everything from their first teeth to their first steps to their first day of school. I find it sort of funny that we tend to document the firsts of things that will continue on for a lifetime but neglect to document the firsts of childhood and parenthood that are more temporary: the first time we hold hands, the first time our child falls asleep in our arms, the first time we carry our child on our hip. Unlike a smile that will (hopefully) last a lifetime, these are the things that will inevitably end. The part that breaks my heart is that most of these “mommy and me” moments end without warning – we never know which time will be the last time. For me, some of these things ended earlier than anticipated. Continue reading “Recapturing Lost Moments”

An Uninvited Dream

I had a dream a couple of nights ago – a dream I’ve had before. I was still in a wheelchair but could easily walk when I felt it necessary. For instance, I would wheel up to a staircase, proceed to stand and walk up or down the stairs and then continue on in my wheelchair. I’ve said before, the inability to walk is the easiest part of dealing with a spinal cord injury (it really is!). However, the sense of relief I feel in those dreams is like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It’s like realizing you can breathe just when you thought the oxygen had run out. And for a few moments, while I convince myself that I am not dreaming, life becomes easier. Continue reading “An Uninvited Dream”

It’s All in the Lyrics

If you know me or have followed me on social media you have probably seen that I like to play around with singing and music. Considering I focused on Music when I was in high school, you would think that I know my stuff but I really don’t. I enjoy it and I manage to be in key slightly more often than I am out of it, but I am far from the most talented musician I know. I’m not even the most talented musician in my marriage! Even so, music has been an incredible outlet for me since my injury. Continue reading “It’s All in the Lyrics”

Taking Time for My Grief

Every morning when I wake up, I feel a few moments of normalcy.  Not much has changed in the way of opening my eyes and saying a sleepy “good morning” to my husband and whichever child has decided to take residence in our bed during the night. But when Ian stands up and easily walks the few steps to the bathroom, I feel a familiar wave of grief. There is not a morning that goes by where those few impossible steps to the bathroom don’t taunt me. I push myself up to sit in bed and look at my wheelchair. It doesn’t get easier. I look at that chair every morning and take a few moments to acknowledge that having a spinal cord injury really sucks. And then I make a choice, every day, to get into the chair anyway. It is so important to make the choice to keep living but it is equally important to allow yourself the losses and the pain; give yourself permission to wait in your grief when it comes. Continue reading “Taking Time for My Grief”

18 Months of Paraplegia

18 months. Today marks 18 months since I was my able-bodied self; 18 months since my accident. In a lot of ways, I can’t even remember what it’s like to live my life that way: to walk, to leave the house without worrying about accessibility, to park my car wherever I want, to be spontaneous and not have to plan my life around a bowel and bladder program. My life was a lot simpler before this injury but going back is not an option. To think that my children are all one and a half years older than they were at the time of my accident is mind boggling. To think that only a few short years ago I had a baby, and then another baby in almost the same amount of time (19 months) is even harder to comprehend. Time feels stagnant sometimes but then all of a sudden it is gone. Continue reading “18 Months of Paraplegia”

Contemplating the What-Ifs

It seems obvious that our lives are shaped by the big decisions we make. While choosing a spouse and a career and purchasing a home are all significant time stamps in life, I often think that it is the countless little decisions we make every day that ultimately pave our path. The what-if scenarios can be never-ending when we start to think about the seemingly insignificant choices we have made. Continue reading “Contemplating the What-Ifs”

Battle Scars

Every scar tells a story. Some stories are more interesting than others; some more intense. Some people have very obvious marks of trauma that can be seen without effort while others are well hidden, under the surface, without a visible reminder. While a scar from an extra vicious mosquito bite or rollerblades that didn’t fit properly (both me) won’t require a lot of emotional processing, other scars can be quite different. And I have found that the obvious scars heal a lot faster than the invisible ones. Continue reading “Battle Scars”