One of those women who…

On the day you become ‘one of those women who..’ nothing seems out of the ordinary, except maybe for a feeling in your gut that something isn’t quite right. But even that might not be there. You go to work, or stay at home; go to church, or on a day trip. You do what you have come to know as your normal. There is nothing about your day that warns you that this is the last time you will ever feel this kind of normal ever again.

How can such a drastic change come without warning? Without the notification that says, ‘Get ready! Your life is about to change!’? How is it that we can be doing the most normal things to us just prior to the moment when we are brutally moved from one subset of women to another?

I’ve been thinking about this recently as I’ve watched a few people’s lives change in an instant. Their experiences have taken me back to the moments that changed my life in an instant: that moment that happens and no matter how much you wish it, you can’t ever go back to how you were, who you were, ever again. It is a dividing line, marking you as ‘one of those women who…’

In my case the first one was that I lost a son. So much of my life looked normal on the outside after that day, but I was forever changed. Even now, twenty five years later, when so many other good things and quite a handful of bad things have happened to me, that day stands out for me because it marked the day I became a real human being. The intensity of the pain of the loss handed me my humanity in the form of empty arms. I am very sure that I am who I am today because I became one of those women who knows what it’s like to lose a son.

Whatever the case may be, all of a sudden, either because of someone else’s actions and choices, or just because that’s the way life is, you are jolted from your normal into that horrible place of ‘a new normal’, where the pain is insane, and makes you feel like you could quite possibly go crazy. I look at women who are walking that through right now and my heart breaks for them. I want to tell them, ‘You will be alright. You will make it.’, and for some women I know that’s true, but for some it isn’t. I have seen a few women lose their battle with this transition. It isn’t pretty.

I want to tell them that the God they serve knew this would happen to them long before they gave Him their allegiance and chose to follow Him. When things were great between them and when they weren’t so good, He knew this was coming on their path. He tried to prepare them in different ways, and now here it is; a new journey has begun.

I also want to tell them that the road before them is long and difficult but do they want to hear that? For me, one woman who had been through what I was about to embark on whispered in my ears that the day would come when my boy wasn’t going to be the first thing I thought about on waking up. At the time it almost sounded like blasphemy, but it gave me a ray of hope to hold onto, and I never let go of that hope. The day did come and I didn’t notice it right away, but when I did, the feeling was bittersweet.

As I write this I’m afraid to sound like I am offering mere platitudes to women who are hanging on for dear life right now. Maybe these truths come too soon for them to grasp, or maybe in the depths of the darkness they now live in, these words might come as comfort. Yes, the road ahead is long and sometimes ugly, but God knew it was coming and He will walk you through it. This process will carve you into a different person, but it doesn’t have to kill you or make you crazy. He knew it was coming even as you lived in what used to be your normal; and He will be there with you every single step of the way.