Because I’ve never been one to apply a gloss to what I write or make my life appear like a well-styled, impeccably filtered Instagram feed, I’m gonna fess up to the fact that I may have shed a tear or two this morning. Ok, there was no may about it, this morning whilst washing up the dishes, this past week of wallowing finally caught up with me and a few tears slipped through to the keeper.
Thinking back upon it now, I can’t recall what triggered the waterworks specifically but I do know that the roiling thoughts that have been swirling about in my mind, some old school music and a few memories all combined to create the perfect storm as I was tidying up the kitchen. And although it was a mere 10 minutes of the whole 1,440 minutes that exist in a day, I felt they were 10 minutes I needed to regroup and get back on track.
I have spoken before about being quite emotionally challenged and those that know me well would attest to the fact that crying just isn’t my thing but these last few days I have had a lot on my mind. And whilst my brain has been churning through ALL. THE. THOUGHTS. today, I keep coming back to the story of Zach Sobiech.
You’ve probably not even heard of Zach Sobiech and if you haven’t then stop reading now. Stop reading and click on the video below. I promise you, it is completely and utterly worth the 20 or so minutes you’ll need to watch it. Oh, and grab a tissue… or 10.
Ok, so as you dry your eyes, let me continue.
I watched this video on Wednesday and for me it bought up a lot of memories of my mum being sick. Now that I’m a mum, and of a similar age to when she was diagnosed, I see things from a completely new perspective. Zach’s story, aside from being beautiful and inspiring, made me think of the thoughts and feelings she must have felt all those years ago. It made me wonder more about how Mum accepted the news of her cancer diagnosis and what thoughts swirled around in her mind when she realised that her days left on this earth were numbered. She was diagnosed when she was 33 years old and died at 42. 42 years old with three children aged 19, 17 and 6.
As a 36 year old woman with two little girls of my own, I simply can not get my head around that. I read and re-read the above paragraph and it moves me to tears. Every time I looked at Miss A today, all I could feel was a profound sadness that I can only imagine she would have felt as she came to grips with knowing she wouldn’t be around to see her children grow up. To see me, my sister and my brother grow up. To know that life would irrevocably be changed for everyone and there wasn’t anything she could do about it. I don’t think she ever could have ever anticipated the impacts nearly two decades later.
There was a time, pre-kids, that these kind of thoughts would be promptly banished to the back of my mind; stifled and shut down, never to see the light of day. But now as a mum, they creep into my consciousness daily until it builds up to a point where I get a little overwhelmed by it. Overwhelmed because the realisation of what she’s missing out on hits me like a freight train and I miss her. And I wish she could know that I have a whole new respect for her as a woman and a mother. Although I’m not racing against the clock, there are days where I can empathise with what she must have been feeling. I feel that profound sadness just contemplating not being here for my girls and it’s crippling. Like gasping-for-air crippling.
Watching Zach’s story also made me feel guilty. Guilty because as I sit here in good health, I can see with immense clarity where I squander away the opportunities to live my life with such deliberation. I sit here in good health and want to slap myself for wallowing in my own self pity. For not getting off my lazy arse and living life fearlessly as I profess to want so desperately this year! And quite frankly, it just reaffirms how fucked up the human mind can really be sometimes. There are people out there in the world in situations that we probably can’t even comprehend and somehow despite their situation manage to rise above, make the best of their lot in life and live life with grace and gratitude. And then there are some of us, in our relatively safe and secure realities who are committed to creating bullshit excuses that form barriers in our minds and cause us to resist what needs to be done to create action. Action to do the do, to achieve goals and to chase dreams.
Well, you know what. I’m done.
I don’t want to have to find myself in the position one day where I learn that my time is limited before I wake up and start living life!
At what point do I step up and take some ownership of that? I have plans to make, goals to achieve and a burning desire to let go of the excuse that has been dogging me for years. The excuse that because my mum isn’t here to see me succeed that I’m not worthy of doing so. It’s a shitty realisation but it’s been the source of my self sabotage and procrastination for a long time.
There is no question that losing my mum so young has had a profound impact on the woman I am today. It’s shaped my character and given me a strength and resilience that is the hallmark of who I am. But as I’m now discovering it’s not always been for the better. And it makes me wonder what impact it will have on my girls as 19, 20, 36 year olds if I don’t make any attempt to address it. Committing to writing every day has already revealed that I’ve got some unresolved grief issues that my emotionally challenged self has been resisting for a long time and I don’t want to see these issue impact my girls. So it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and set an example. To live a life that is worth living and chase dreams that are worth chasing. Because my rational mind knows that this is what my mum would have wanted for me, regardless of the fact that she’s not here to see it.
So to Zach Sobiech, a young man I never knew and will never get to meet, thank you for shining a light on what’s important for me this week.
I fell down, down, down
Into this dark and lonely hole
There was no one there to care about me anymore
And I needed a way to climb and grab a hold of the edge
You were sitting there holding a rope
Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed before an epiphany occurs? What is inspires you to regroup and get back on track?