Strength Comes Later


The last year has been the hardest of my entire life.

2015 started off normal. Actually it started off pretty great. Then – in June, I was involved in a car crash. I hit a semi truck going 45mph & I lived. When I hit the semi, my face impacted with the air bag in my steering wheel – but, right before it did, I saw the angel clip on my sun visor sparkle. Like, it sparkled. It didn’t catch the light… it straight out sparkled. I even wrote about it here a couple days after the accident. It gives me chills now because exactly 1 month later, my husband passed away in his sleep at just 33 years old while I was out of town & he was home with the kids.

Even though I expressed such thankfulness in that article – I published this on my personal facebook account after the accident… and I quote ‘RIP my precious Maxima. You’ve been a GREAT car for 23 years. I cried over the loss of you than I did anything else today’.

Now, I read this and I think – ‘How could I have been SO PETTY?!” It was a freaking car. Mostly metal. Boo-fricken-hoo. :/

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My, my…. boy, was life about to put things into perspective for me in a very big way.

1 month to the day later, my husband passed away. Worst day of my life & my kids’ life as you can very well imagine. I can remember every single horrifying moment. Being on the side of the street in NYC, anxiously calling my house to tell my husband I had just found his favorite Chinese tea in Chinatown… only for my kids to go wake him up while they were on the phone with me and find him dead. I can not even put into words the emotions of that day. There are no words to describe the awfulness of it. There just aren’t.

In October, one of my best friends passed away. Then about a week later, my 11 year old cat died from an infection. As I was at the vet’s office, trying to save my cat’s life… my kids called and said our 15 year old dog, Jasmine, was laying in the middle of our floor urinating on herself & growling at everyone who came near. Jasmine was the sweetest dog I’d ever met, so I knew something was seriously wrong. I remember driving home from the vet, where my cat was fighting for his life (and didn’t make it), to come home to scoop my dog up in my arms to take her back to the same vet, knowing all the while I was probably going to have to put her to sleep. I cried that entire day.

2 weeks later, my daughters went out the door to get the Chinese food we had ordered – and found both of our outside dogs dead. We think they were poisoned by someone, but we can’t prove it. I couldn’t cope at that point. My dad came over to bury the dogs – and I had to leave. I couldn’t be there. I had had enough. I couldn’t do any more death… so I did my best not to feel for a while. I turned on autopilot & hoped for the best.

You know what happens when you turn on autopilot? You don’t live your life.

The days just blended together…the weeks just blended together too… and I did my best to distract my mind from reality. I functioned like that for several months. That’s what was easiest way for me to manage.

But that’s not what Michael would want me to do. That’s not what my friend Joan would want me to do. And that’s not what my furbabies would want me to do. We only get one life. And here I was sitting on the sidelines, trying my best not to feel. But that’s not what life is about. You have to feel it… all of it. Even when you don’t want to. Otherwise, you’re never going to get thru it.

I was never going to get through it if I didn’t let myself feel the full velocity of all that had transpired. That has made for some of the ugliest times of my life. You can not imagine how many breakdowns I have had & that I still have… breakdowns where I have probably appeared absolutely crazy. 

But that’s ok.

When bad things happen, people say ‘Oh, be strong!’. I disagree with that 100x over. I tried to be strong… it didn’t work.

You know what I think?

When bad things happen, don’t be strong. Break. Fall apart. FEEL IT.

Being strong comes later.