The New Normal
It can happen in a matter of minutes or over a long period of time; but often we find ourselves experiencing a “new normal.” Things have coasted along fairly smoothly for a period of time, and suddenly things are different. Maybe it’s a job change, or a child moving out. Perhaps it’s a break-up or divorce, or the loss or addition of a family member. For our family, it has recently happened with the passing of my father. What had become familiar and comfortable is now forever changed. Forever our new normal.
The past months and even years have been filled with all of us banding together to focus much of our time and energy toward helping Mom with Dad’s care. Scheduling several days a week to visit him and do our best to help out in any way we could. Doctor visits, recent meetings with the nursing home to develop and review his care plan, and helping him with as many meals as possible. Throughout the process Mom has been our rock, and is simply an amazing lady who has been at his side for every moment. The two of them were married for sixty-four years, and were inseparable until the very end.
With Dad’s passing, we find ourselves with some new bridges to cross and the realization of life without him. Our new normal. This past week we celebrated Thanksgiving as a family for the first time without our patriarch. The chair that Dad had occupied year after year was occupied by someone else this year. As we all went around and shared the things that we were most thankful for, some of us were unable to verbalize our gratitude for the life lived by the man whom we loved from the bottom of our hearts. Others were able to share what he had meant to them and express their thanksgiving for his legacy. This year, Pop wouldn’t be the one to pray for our feast. That honor would pass on to the next generation.
As difficult as it was to get through our first holiday without Dad’s presence, we also realized that we still have much to be thankful for. Many things to look forward to, much of life ahead to anticipate. Alongside our sweet Momma we have treasured moments that are yet to be experienced. Little ones to watch as they dream and grow. Birthdays to celebrate. Holidays to spend together. Loved ones to share life with.
Sometimes the new normal is very difficult to accept. Often it challenges us to dig deep within ourselves to accept it and make the best of it. And always it reminds us that life is both unpredictable and to be treasured. For what has become normal for us today will likely change many times over the course of our lifetimes, and will become, well…..our new normal.