by Lisa Britton
My life of 7.5 years as a mama to a medically-complex child came to a screeching halt the night he left for Heaven. Nothing could have prepared me to say goodbye.
Up until that moment, my life had been consumed by appointments, therapies, surgeries, times of isolation (to keep him healthy), and middle of the night trips to the emergency room.
Life with Asher was anything but ordinary. Despite all of the odds stacked against him, he thrived! He lived life to the fullest while bringing the purest joy I’ve ever known, to everyone he met – even in his most difficult medical challenges.
No, life was definitely not ordinary. We didn’t go too many playdates or community mom and tot events; we often had to cancel commitments due to sudden illness or sleepless nights.
I struggled to relate to other moms with children his age. I spent countless hours ordering medication refills, researching medical conditions, and sharing my deepest worries with my husband.
There was nothing ordinary about our life, but I learned to thrive along with Asher in the extraordinary world we belonged to.
In May 2018, Asher suffered a massive cardiac arrest hours after successful heart surgery. Days later, he went to Heaven, and I was left leaving a hospital without my son.
Without my son, who was also my full-time job.
Grieving became my “extraordinary,” after all, it is not ordinary to lose a child. People continued to see our family as different. Not only had we raised a special needs child, but we had lost him.
I became the grieving mother who everyone checks in on, prayed for, loved on. We were definitely living outside of ordinary life!
While I’m thankful for the care we were surrounded by, and I can tell you that 20 months into this journey of grief, it shifted.
At some point (that I can not quite pinpoint), I’ve crossed an invisible line. One side, I was wading deep in the extraordinary, and now I find myself tiptoeing into the ordinary.
It happens so gradually that it’s difficult to see coming.
People do not drop off the Earth and stop caring about your grief. But slowly, life begins to change.
Grief no longer masters my identity.
Grief no longer dictates my choices and surroundings.
Grief is no longer the first in line for an introduction and begging for my attention.
And suddenly, the ordinary sneaks in.
Not only sneaks in but unexpectedly settles in.
Days become filled with the “normal” and mundane. After months of learning to accept grief, I’m suddenly faced with accepting ordinary.
Where life was once lived moment by moment, it turns into day by day, which turns into week by week.
And that’s where I’ve landed, in the centre of ordinary — trying to accept it and all it has to offer, while cautiously waiting for what else grief may have in store.
Grief is like that, though. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, it shapeshifts into another form.
I believe accepting the ordinary is another step in the journey of grief.
While I have no idea what grief holds beyond today, I will always hold tightly to the precious moments from a once extraordinary life.