When life has changed...how does one live in the new normal? A year later, I still don't have all the answers. I can tell you the things that helped me the most.
Let yourself grieve. Our family counselor and a good friend both told me I needed to let myself grieve. I didn't have to be strong. That was freeing for me. And I did grieve. Some days all I could do was cry. Even now as I write this, tears surface. I don't cry as often now. Most weeks are good. However, there are still times it hits me hard. Just last week as we headed on a family trip to Arkansas, I wept. I remembered our last trip to Arkansas. I remembered our boys being with us and the good time we had together. And I missed them.
Learn to live in the moment. I could not manage to look ahead. It overwhelmed me. I learned to take each day a moment at a time. I did not know how I could go on another day or another week, but I could do what needed done in that moment. One day at a time is literally how I functioned. Yes, I did miss some things because I didn't plan ahead. But I found it was ok. God holds all the tomorrows. I had to do the best I could with the day I was living in.
Let go of the past. For some time the "what if's" controlled my thoughts. What if I had done this or what if I had done that? Would things have turned out differently? Those questions will literally paralyze the human spirit. They took away my will to go on. I could not change the past. I could only give it to God and ask him to make the best of the effort I had given to our children, and ask him to redeem my shortcomings.
Hang onto God. When my world was in turmoil, I realized the only sure thing in life is God. Everything else can be gone in a moment. Prayer and Bible study became a priority. I was desperate to talk to Him and hear from Him each day. Through the time I spent with Him, God granted me the strength I needed for each day. I could not have made it without Him. God was enough, and I would be ok.
Lean on your friends. I have been used to being the one who helped others. Instead I found myself in desperate need of my friend's help. Mostly it was prayer support I needed. There were times I would be praying and trying to get a handle on my emotions but simply couldn't. At those times, I had a few friends I could text and ask to pray for me. Their encouragement and added prayers to our Father got me through when I couldn't find the way on my own.
Even a year later writing this is hard, it brings fresh waves of emotion. However, the emotion is also mixed with joy as I see what God has done in the past year. Perhaps my journey through sorrow will help someone else.
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 ESV