Society has always been in the driver seat when it came to making decisions in my life. Growing up you don’t cry, whine, and misbehave. After all, it’s not acceptable behavior. You go to school and get good grades. College is next on the list, and you must choose something sensible to study.
Living on my own should have been the end of society’s reign, but it wasn’t. The conditioning to think about what was normal, appropriate, and accepted practice dominated. Therefore, I did things in the “right order”. I started a career. I got married. Then, I had children.
Life was good. We made a good living that provided everything we needed. Bought a house and settled into life as a family of 5. Motherhood began to look the way I had always envisioned. Everything precisely as it should be, or so says society’s rules.
That was about the time the floor began to crumble beneath my feet.
Death seems like an abstract thing. Something that doesn’t happen to just anyone. The funny thing is, you can’t predict it and regardless of how ready you think you are it takes you by surprise.
I knew before they told me. Call it mother’s intuition or just an ability to read the writing too quickly scribbled on the wall. My gut told me it was over hours before that possibility even entered the conversation.
What do you do when the rug gets pulled out from under you? The only thing society taught me was you don’t talk about death. You keep it hidden away and pretend it didn’t happen.
As the riptide of grief pulled me out to sea, it didn’t feel like something I should just keep hidden. You drown in silence. I needed to scream from the rooftops.
The life I had so carefully crafted, following all of the rules, was obliterated in a matter of minutes. Gone! Everything was out of control and no matter how hard I tried, there was nothing I could do. Helpless to watch it all slip through my fingers and fade from existence.
I learned a lesson that day! Society and her expectations don’t deserve space in my world.
Life is more fragile than I ever knew. I had a front row seat to a medical mystery the best team of doctor’s couldn’t solve. As he closed his eyes for the last time, I sat in a chair beside his bed thankful he was finally able to get some rest. I didn’t know it would be the last time.
My perspective on life changed that day.
I no longer care what society dictates as acceptable or normal. Life is far too short to waste time on trivial things. We are here to follow our own path. Find our own happiness, whatever that may look like.
The only part of the rule book I continue to carry with me is the fact I must keep going. When my life collapsed around me, I wanted to lay down and die with my son. I couldn’t let death have that much power. Instead, I found a new way to live.
Society’s rule book is gone. In it’s place, I live for my son. We live for our children. There is no more concern for what people will think or what is acceptable. Instead, we do what is best for us. What we need to do in order to continue moving forward. Survival mode is our new normal.