I read an update yesterday that literally took my breath away. My dear friend’s daughter was hit by a car four weeks ago and has been in a coma ever since with no real signs of improvement. Her post said they are at the stage now where they need to make the agonizing decision about the future of her life. As I read her achingly beautiful words, my heart broke into a million tiny pieces and my experiences with my dad being in a coma when I was a teenager and the death of my oldest daughter came rushing back.
It just so happened that yesterday for me was day two of having two kids home sick. The first day I managed to get quite a bit of work done. But yesterday, after reading my friend’s update, my productivity was ruined.
I could barely read her beautiful words because of all the tears filling my eyes and clouding my vision. When I was finished reading it, I just sat at the table and cried a river of tears. Thoughts and feelings that I experienced during those traumatic times in my life came rushing back. The funny thing with grief and trauma is that even if you do the hard work to heal from them, they can still jump out of the proverbial “bushes” and ambush you from time to time.
Regrouping from the trigger
After I released all the emotion that overwhelmed me, I looked around and wondered how I was going to get anything done for the rest of the day. My other friend texted me and suggested I take the day off. Instead, relish having my two kids home with me and not to focus on work. And that is exactly what I did. I hugged my children and doted on them.
I remember a few hours after Sydney died. My sister-in-law who was at my house came to me trying to hold back the tears. She told me she wanted to stay with me. But she desperately needed to go to her dad’s house and hug her children. As painful as it was to realize that she could still hug her children and I would never again be able to hug my own child, I thanked her and gave her my blessing to leave.
Even though I had quite a few things I had hoped to accomplish yesterday, I just allowed it all to sit there as I made soup for my kids, checked temperatures, delivered water bottles and piled on blankets. But the most important thing is the energy with which I did it. Instead of caring for them and feeling like it was a burden, I cared for them with the deepest gratitude for the blessing that they are to me and that I even have this supreme gift of being able to care for them.
That energy shift makes all the difference every single time.
I looked at my children, really looked at them. And I was overcome with gratitude. Going through fertility struggles, it was so incredibly difficult to have our children. Miraculously, we were blessed with three heart-healthy ones after our daughter Sydney. From time to time that gratitude overtakes and overwhelms me and yesterday was one of those days.
I work hard to be sure. I am passionate about making the world a better place for children and helping parents to relate to their kids in a healthier way that serves them both. Sometimes I feel the pressure of time weighing me down, knowing how many parents out there desperately need help and how many kids are suffering as a result. But I must have what Gary Vaynerchuk calls micro-speed and macro-patience. In the grand scheme of life, whether I got any work done yesterday is completely insignificant. But whether I connected to my children and cared for and comforted them matters a whole heck of a lot. When I learn from my experiences, I have a richer database to draw from to help other parents. Yesterday required macro-patience as Gary says.
Today is a new day
Today offers me the chance for micro-speed. All three of my kids managed to make it to school this morning. And I am here at my desk working hard, churning it out. Doing my part to help, educate, inspire and motivate as many parents as I possibly can.
And while I’m doing it, I’m thinking about my friend and her daughter, feeling gratitude for the complex life lessons my own daughter taught me and sending love and strength to my friend as she embarks down this same difficult road.
I have created a FREE cheat sheet with ways you can practice gratitude in your own life which you can download below.
Do you practice gratitude regularly? What benefits does it provide you?