You have an intuition but, You don’t know. Until your world stops in a moment, you don’t know.
Two years ago, the morning of February 4th we woke up to a world that felt like it had changed on its axis in a second. The events of the day before were like a nightmare that felt too bewildering to be true.
In the weeks before I was worried about moving, we took possession of our new home on the 2nd of February. I was concerned that the move would be disorganized and I was angry with my husband for getting a tattoo and we were not speaking … I didn’t know.
I was excited for our new debt-free life, and I was having anxiety about being wise with some financial freedom. I had an intuition but, I didn’t know.
I had been scheduling my work, road trips, job fairs and for whatever reason I could not put ANYTHING in my February calendar and fully commit … an intuition.
I walked through my new home 3 months ago and for whatever reason I NEEDED to have enough room to move a wheelchair or a walker through my hallways, an intuition of things to come.
I have been CRAZY about telling my daughters to be safe while they were driving and in fact: GROUNDED my 21-year-old when it was so cold and the roads were so bad … I just had a bad feeling … part of me knew.
When Jodie was leaving on that fateful February 3rd, I begged her to stay. We had been talking about beef dip sandwiches for two days and I promised to make them if she stayed, part of me knew *please stay*
Marley her 4 year old daughter was playing in the basement and asked to stay the night on the Warm heated floors and I thought “tonight or not at all” *please stay*
I thought that was my bitchy selfish side speaking in my head. I had told them to stay and I was not getting what I wanted so: I was going to be grumpy… Hindsight says intuition.
I reflect on those moments final moments and think I should have fought harder. This would have happened if I would have stood my ground and not let them go. I should have protected her like a big sister should.
When my husband handed me the phone and it was Jodie’s husband … My heart sank and I knew.
Jodi was trapped in her vehicle and they were preforming CPR on Marley… I knew.
I wanted to not know. I wanted to be wrong, I wanted best case scenario. I hoped a couple broken bones and bruised egos, but that was best case scenario for me…
They don’t do CPR in the best-case scenario… I knew.
They don’t send STARS because they want to give you a helicopter tour … I knew.
When the constable wants to talk to the husband/ father before telling you anything … I knew.
On the front steps of my new house, with my daughters eavesdropping behind me … I knew.
Not sure when Jodi would land in the U of A or where to put my feelings. I called my Dad, I unpacked my china, I tried to organize my dining room so I could sit and think at my table. I tried to control ONE thing in my spinning universe. People cope in different ways … I work. I manage. I control what I can. Its genetic – Jodi has the Gene too and I’m not placing blame on either side, because my paternal aunty and my Mom both gifted me the gene.
In these moments I don’t trust God with the difference. He has not proven himself trustworthy. I will control ALL. THE. THINGS. If I can’t, I will collapse trying.
Anything before that call no longer mattered.
What next? It didn’t matter that Mike had a new tattoo on his chest. I wanted his arms around me and my head against his chest. If that happened, it would crack in my emotional armor and my resolve to take the next best step and work my list in confidence. I walled myself inside with my best armour of resolve. I lifted my chin and channeled my warrior.
Having sat with my Mom and my Grandmother in their last days, working alongside palliative care for years before that I had a knowledge of the things to come. Witnessing death in the last 10 years – my friends commented that when I came to see you in the hospital, you could bet that was the end – I was jokingly refereed to as an Angel of death holding people as they went to Heaven. That “gift” takes a special warrior spirit and a special strength. I can tell you that THIS experience is NOTHING compared to all the rest put together. I thought losing my Mom, holding my grandmother as she breathed her last breath were painful moments that I thought would be the worst. I was horrifically wrong. I thought that took a lot of strength and it did, but this is took more. Those experiences prepared me for the things to come.
I am angry with anyone who makes a likewise comparison because you don’t know. I devalued anyone else’s grief by comparison – you lost an animal? Buy a new one! You lost a parent? That’s the circle of life! You lost a grandchild? It wasn’t yours! You lost a niece? She wasn’t yours! Loosing your own child, so full of life and potential … nothing compares! I felt guilty “feeling” anything … I had no RIGHT to feel anything compared to my what my sister would wake up to feel – if she ever woke up. So shut up Joy! *my internal voice is not always the most supportive* I am THE Aunty, but Jodie is THE MOTHER. My grief would be a Drop in my sister’s ocean that she was to be immersed in.
I was supporting my sister and I sobbed in my sleep for her brokenness heart and body. Ultimately its HER brokenness, its HER recovery it is the work that SHE will have to do. I don’t feel the RIGHT to feel anything by comparison to her. Its like complaining I had a bad sleep at the hospital – “REALLY? YOU had a bad sleep? Look over at her broken frame now and shut up!” When I Cry for Marley’s sweet laugh, or want to hear one of her stories that never ends… “REALLY? You miss her? Can you imagine how her mom will feel every minute of every day?” I wanted to take the burden for myself and suffered survivor guilt.
Grief and addiction are two things that CANNOT be coached
They are meant to be felt through and worked through, counselled and sometimes just sat in. It is biblical that we Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Simply- meet people where they are and join them with empathy. I am struggling to think God has a plan. If this is part of his plan it’s SUPER shitty… God and I are having some conversations about this.
My grief spewed out in fits of anger over small things in life that I cannot control. I have this HUGE thing that is out of my control. Marley is gone, My Sister is broken and I had no control over any of that. I’m angry and I am afraid.
I know that people react in fear or Love. When I became aware of my fear, I choose love. Sometimes it takes me a moment to realize that my anger is a fear. I am grateful for the people in my Life who hold space for my mad while it transitions to sad.
I numbed with endless lists of things to do and tasks I can control. When the lists went sideways, I was filled with anger. I realize this is a representation that EVERYTHING is outside of my control, even my feeble lists.
I can’t tell you the trauma that took up residence in my body from being a witness. My sister asked why I did not take pictures of her in this state – Simply- she was fighting for life. I could not take photos of her broken exposed body; It also felt like a disrespect to her as I would not want to violate her privacy and display her so vulnerable and raw. I could not in good conscious capture the horror of those moments. I could not process them myself; how could I burden anyone else? I never wanted Jodi to see this… I would hold this alone.
Witnessing her with screws drilled into her flesh, holding her lower half together with exterior rods. The open fractures, the smell of open flesh, the pain and cries from every turn and placement, the feeling of utter helplessness. All I could do was hold her face, sing hymns and pray. I did not want that moment documented for anyone to remember.
There was no room in that time to grieve Marley she had been air lifted to heaven on impact and Jodi was flown to the UofA. We fought for life, for pain management, for next steps. We would grieve later.
On this day, exactly 2 years later, I reflect on those moments waking up to a life forever changed. We have never returned to what was before this. We are all forever changed. We will never heal from such an experience and all it impacted. I had an intuition, but I did not know.
My advice on the dawn of this day would be for myself. Realizing that I had an intuition and learning to honor that while not being paranoid and living in constant fear of the unknown. Honoring the woman’s intuition and Holey Spirits leading that is whispering to my soul for what was to come. Residing in a peace that passes human understanding. No amount of sitting in worry prepares you for the moment of impact that sets your life on a different course. Preparing myself for the loss of my mother did not prepare me for the moment of impact when it hit my guts. No amount of seeming emotional preparation will help you with the moment of impact. No amount of preparing for a new baby will ever prepare you for the true impact of a new life added to yours. No amount of bracing yourself for them not breathing when you go to check on them would prepare you for that moment.
We have control of so little on this spinning rock hurtling through space. Trusting God with the difference is a lesson I am grappling with. Learning to feel emotions, identify them and then choosing my actions in response to them is hard. Making choices that are in alignment with who I want to become on the other side of impact takes work. Not moving so quickly to the next best steps – sometimes hitting pause to honor the emotions of now before moving. Not numbing with endless lists of things to do, not distracting from pain and discomfort.
The flip side of that is not getting stuck in the moments of despair within my story, spinning in the bewilderment of the events that led me here. Knowing when to honor where I’m at, recognizing when I am spinning in a moment- this is a constant mindful practice and discipline.
I have some POWERFUL tools for this and an amazing source of strength as God is within me. I will continue to trust him with the difference as I spin on this rock.
If you are needing help with doing this for yourself – reach out! I understand in ways you may not be aware. I will sit with you, and help you take the next best step when your ready.