“We can’t always choose to be happy, but we can choose to be kind to ourselves when we are sad.” – Lori Deschene
The past two weeks have been A LOT.
It’s been hard for me to put the events, the feelings and emotions into words. For the first time in a very long time, I have been left speechless. I was quiet. I had to rest. I had to heal. And I gave myself that time, that space. And to be honest, I still am…
For the past 16 months, I have been in overdrive – I have put on my brave, put on my smile and tried my very best to be there for everyone who needed me and who was going through hell. I have needed to be the rock and the constant in our home as MC and our girls have tackled mountains of changes, loss, despair and pain. Family around us have experienced extreme lows and challenges, friends who have needed me and us in some way or another – emotionally, physically, financially – this has been a time for me to step up and step in in so many ways. I have failed many and I haven’t been enough for many but I have tried my absolute best – and kept going when my mind, body and heart have allowed me. I personally have been through more in this past year than ever before – both visibly and behind the scenes but I have had a profound strength and courage to get me through these moments.
But then two weeks ago, I prepared to set off on the Friday morning to renew my drivers licence – it is months overdue, I waited months for an appointment and we cut our getaway short for me to attend and I had to cancel because the roads had been blocked and torched my protestors. Something small inside of me cracked, I almost physically felt this crazy – I was gutted and angry and disappointed, and carried the weight of something so trivial like it was lead on my shoulders. Two days later, we woke up to our city on fire, quite literally burning and gunshots through our surrounding neighbourhood.
In a matter of hours, our Estate had hired extra security, our men (and women) had gathered weapons and congregated at security checkpoints to barricade our neighbourhood, MC set out for hours at night to patrol our area, I locked our girls up inside and tried my best to remain calm and normal, I counted food stock in our fridge and pantry to plan out meals for the next few days or week, I checked in on our parents and our friends, physically and emotionally, I shut our doors and kept masks on inside to avoid the chemical smell in our home from a pesticide plant being burnt down, and I listened into the Zello app feeling like I was in an action/crime.war movie from another world.
But the two things I did the most in those first few days – I prayed and I cried.
And then I broke… I had nothing left inside me, physically, mentally and emotionally.
I couldn’t adult, I couldn’t parent, I couldn’t put on a brave face and I couldn’t speak to anyone. I went offline, I didn’t answer calls or messages. I was in pure devastating, survival mode. I was terrified and broken.
Our rock, my MC stood up and stepped in when I couldn’t go any further. He did it all. And then he suggested we get out of the mayhem for a bit, and myself, the girls and our special Victoria got away for a few days. MC and another family joined us a bit later and we offered the ‘safety’ of our home and food to our special au pair and her family. For us, getting away was a privilege and at the time, much needed. I was racked with guilt at being away from our home, our community, for not doing enough, for not being there for everyone else. And it’s taken me time to realise that it was something we had to do, and was absolutely necessary given my state. MC worked day and night to help everyone around us – financial aide, making sure close families were safe, fed and secure, and collecting and flying in supplies with any contacts he had. Our girls were safe and secure, and allowed the freedom to be ‘normal’ and enjoy the extended holiday on the coast.
We are home now, back to online learning for the week ahead and trying to return to ‘normal’ – a word that I lost 16 months ago. Every day, I feel a little lighter and with the endless love and support around me, and back to seeing my psychologist and working through so much, I am taking one day at a time to see the hope again. As a high empath, giver and fixer – being out of this space isn’t easy but I have to learn to be kinder to myself and give myself the grace.
“Pooh, what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” asked Piglet.
“Help” said Pooh – Winnie the Pooh