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Life after tragedy

The past year has been nothing short of emotional. Most days, I like to pretend that we all survived with nothing more than some loss of sleep and pink scars on Tyler’s arm. But deep down, I know that just isn’t true. 

Today I got home to find an honor roll certificate from Kane on the table. Intelligence has never been his downfall, so I wasn’t surprised. I was, however, very excited for him. You see, he managed to move from his small special needs classroom back into general education this year. We’ve been working to accomplish this since he was put into the program. He had problems with emotional outbursts and couldn’t handle full sized classes. But many of the kids in the smaller class were intellectually behind, and that left him more bored than normal. Having moved classes AND achieved A honor roll was quite the accomplishment. 


Pain, sorrow and fear came rushing over me


As I excitedly scrolled through pictures on my phone to make the stereotypical mom-brag post, I passed through all the pictures of Tyler from last fall. All at once it struck me all over again. Pain, sorrow, fear- all came rushing over me and brought tears immediately to my eyes. It was like I was in the moment again.

When tragedy strikes a family, it takes that part of your life- that moment in time- and holds it captive.  Every memory during that point in time is shadowed by the tragedy and forever tied to it. Every moment is intertwined with the specific point you’re dealing with while going through the throes of grief and healing. As much as you may come through it and go on with life as if everything is fine, you are forever changed and scarred by it. The overwhelming pain may fade, but remnants are still there below the surface, waiting to taint even the happiest of moments.

Today was just such an example. There was nothing sad about today. But it took one brief reminder to put me back in that place- defenses at full strength, fighting doctors to try to save my child’s life, and trying to act brave to keep Tyler’s spirits high. It was a reminder that God is still working out His healing in our lives. 


I hide the pain behind deep dark walls in my soul


I’m no expert on dealing with tragedy. If I’m being honest, I’m one of the worlds worst at holding onto pain. So it’s no wonder that the scars from last summer run deeper than I’d ever like to admit. While I denied it for many years, I am very much a Type A personality, and I like to control situations. When my emotions are out of control, I’m not usually successful at that. So I put on a brave face and hide the pain behind deep dark walls in my soul. It was just such a response that kept me hiding from exactly how rough things got with my divorce for so many years. I’ve been trying to deal with this differently, and I thought I was doing alright. Apparently not. 

While I work through this, I’m trying to learn how better to handle it for the future. This year has been one for us to all change and grow- which is a good thing no matter how hard it is. But it also was a year that filled us with fear. 

When Ashlynn fell last month and needed stitches, her first question when heading to the ER was “how many days will I have to sleep there?” Her fear wasn’t the wound, it was the thought that the hospital would become her home for a while. Two and a half months apart does that to a family. While her question was somewhat amusing as an adult, it was also sad that it had become her reality. Accidents aren’t accidents to my kids anymore, they’re tragedy unless you tell them otherwise. Their gut reaction is to think the worst, and that kills me after how much I tried to shield them from that life.

The past year made Kane’s accomplishment even more spectacular. Although, I know he also did not come out unscathed. He still has emotions bubbling to the surface, because he, like me, has a tendency to bury his hard emotions. We all have scars, and we are all still trying to process them.

So if you’re going through tragedy and it seems like it won’t end, know you’re not alone. It is okay to be still dealing with it a year later. It is okay to have scars, and for happy moments to still be tainted. Tragedy is a thief, and you can never recover what it steals. All you can do is learn to process it and move on, working life around the now ever-present scars. 

Have you ever dealt with tragedy?

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