The Evolving Homemaker

One improbable housewife's odyssey into the realm of mothering, cooking, crafting, gardening, and more…


How to Live From Here

The last few months I have been feeling a bit…discombobulated.   And at the same time really focused.  Trying to live by what I value. In the Spring of this year, I can clearly remember thinking that my life had been fairly void of catastrophe.  My friends were all still married, no one was sick, I hadn’t lost any contemporaries due to illness or accident.

At the time, I also realized I was getting older, and it was only a matter of time before these sorts of things started to pop up right?  By the time my Mom was this age, she had lost friends to cancer; aids.  Divorce happened.

It was a passing stream of consciousness, that I had mostly forgotten about until now.

First my Mom had a pacemaker put in, my stepfather had some serious back issues that are still bothering him, my stepbrother was diagnosed with Leukemia and is fighting the fight with grace and strength beyond my capabilities.  My Dad had some health questions, which he doesn’t like to share with us, so we still are not sure how he is doing.  My dear friends girlfriend since childhood was diagnosed with breast cancer, and is surprising all doctors with her incredible response to treatment.  My sisters hair dresser’s best friend since she was six was diagnosed with Lymphoma, with two small children and the same age as me.  Then a dear friend of mine’s son was diagnosed with cancer and has begun treatment and the fight for his life.  Two weeks ago an acquaintance of mine and fellow blogger, The Crunchy Domestic Goddess, lost her sister of 31 in a car accident.  And then yesterday, another blogger I follow Sew Liberated, and find incredibly inspiring from her thoughts on Montessori, and her amazing sewing ability, wrote about their discovery that her son she is carrying right now, has a severe heart defect that will need multiple surgeries, soon after birth, to keep him alive.

What the hell is going on?

I read Sew Liberated’s blog in sheer shock yesterday, emotional at the fragility of it all.  In fact the tears are starting to flow now again.  It is as if my breath is just slowly getting sucked out of my lungs.  The breath that keeps me going in faith that all will be well.  I find anxiety creeping back in to my chest, restricting my chi, because I again feel the need to try to control the safety of those I love and be meticulous.

I am afraid.

I am frustrated with the pain that so many are dealing with.

I feel a sense of urgency to live aggressively again, at a time I had begun to take a step back and try to find peace, tranquility, presence.

I am confused as to what the point of it all really is.  Like, WHY ARE WE HERE?  I DON’T GET IT!

I am sad.

I am urgently trying to remain present with my kids and not take them for granted, even though I am highly distractable and terrible at remaining in the moment.

Most of all I just want it to be alright.  For everyone.  For the Mom who is watching her brave son going through treatments and learning how to parent through such a shock.  For the Dad who has to constantly wonder if he will be around to see his daughters get married and create a life of their own.  For the sister, who won’t have her partner in crime to call when times get tough.  For the Mom who is having to adjust her expectations of what life with her new son would be like, and go on with the strength only a Mother has.  For the Mother of two small children who has cancer reaching it’s ugly tentacles throughout her chest.  For the woman fighting breast cancer.  For my Mom, who’s heart just needs a little help sometimes…

Can’t we just hit the rewind button and start over?  What are we to learn from all this?  Why can’t things just be O.K.? Is it too much to ask?

I don’t have any conclusions.  All I can say is that I am in this weird void.  I don’t know how to live from here.

And I am trying not to cry again.

Spill it: What have you learned from difficult experiences in your life?  What philosophy do you live your life with?  Do you look for peace?  Adventure?  Travel? Career?  Being a Mom? How will you know when you have lived your life well?


6 Responses to “How to Live From Here”

  1. Tracy Says:

    I’ve lived through many tragedies in my 37 years…more than some..less than others. What I’ve learned is that this IS life…the illnesses, unexpected deaths, cancer…along with times of pure joy, the smile that melts your heart, the promotion you got, finding the love of your life, etc. It is ALL life. Life can never be perfect or just O.K. But, allowing yourself to cry and FEEL the sadness is part of the coping process. Sometimes in life, we’re just barely coping, while other times we are flying high! Jen, your compassion for people is so deep and pure..and your thoughts and prayers do matter and make a difference. You are one special person:) Love you.

  2. Tessa Says:

    man, so much heaviness in the world, I often get so overwhelmed by it and I, too, want to live fiercely, but find always wanting more makes me unhappy with where I am and what I have. ugh, where’s the balance?!

  3. Ann Richmond Says:

    Love to you, my friend. I’ve been in a weird time myself lately, grappling with a lot of the big things, too. I think that the only thing that gives me peace in times like this is the knowledge that life was meant to be a testing place…and not an easy one. I hate that it is that way, sometimes, especially when I see the suffering of other people I love. But I try to find peace in the knowledge of my belief that this life isn’t “it,” that it is a very short part of a much grander existence. (However, I’m with you in feeling so much of the time that this doesn’t often make it too much easier to bear when things are so painful for those we love.) Prayers for you and your loved ones.

  4. Jen Says:

    Thanks ladies. I fully understand that I am incredibly lucky for my circumstances as they are now. Lots of love in my life including all of you! I also realize that life is shaking me awake at the moment, and I am not sure why…or how I am supposed to respond…and why I am getting the message I lived with for so long, “life is short, get busy!” that gave me anxiety and worry that I wouldn’t get to it all before my time came, or take any of it with me, like my love for my babes. Hurry up. Hurry up. It is fragile. It is precarious. But if we hurry, then are we missing the point? Again, have NO answers! lol

    Lots of gratitude for each of you,

  5. Karen Says:

    I am sorry for you pain and I can totally relate. There have been times in my life when I have not wanted to go on due to the pain that was represented: a break in my marriage, being pregnant with a child that would have a serious birth defect, and dealing with those issues through out his life.
    However, once I am through them I am able to see what it was I was that I was to learn from it and how much those painful episodes enriched my life: My husband and I have an amazing marriage and I am so lucky we were forced to reevaluate it. My son has taught me so much and is the most determined person I know……he could be in a wheelchair and unable to think or learn, yet he is not. Knowing the issues he will have regarding learning has allowed us to put things into affect so that he is an honor roll student, who looks at life in a manner like no other. I am in awe of his ability to adapt every day.
    That is not to say I am perfect yet at realizing a painful situation will also bring me something amazing…..I wish I could be more like my mother, who when she was diagnosed with lung cancer several years back was o.k. with it. She told each of us what a wonderful life she has led and that she has seen her four girls become amazing women and mothers and so she has fulfilled her purpose and now whatever is left is just icing on the cake……..but I am working on it……

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