About two weeks ago, my two youngest daughters were in a car accident. My husband and I were scheduled to attend a banquet, so we asked our 19-year-old daughter to pick up her sister from church. On the way home from church, our daughter inadvertently turned in the opposite direction of our home. After turning around to get back on course, they were involved in a car accident.
As my husband and I were sitting at the banquet watching the young men dance to "Can You Stand the Rain" by Johnny Gill, my husband's phone rang. I could tell by the tone in his voice and the way he swiftly exited the room that something was wrong. I also knew it was about the time the girls would be driving home. I followed him out of the banquet hall only to hear my daughters crying on the phone. My heart sank.
Thoughts immediately start swarming through my head. How bad is it? It must be bad because they are crying. Why is my daughter's leg bleeding? Oh no, the paramedics are there which also means that it must be bad. We are over 20 minutes away from the accident scene, and this is a time when they need their mother. Why didn't I pick up my daughter myself.
This situation sent me back to five years ago when we lost our daughter Riley Elizabeth. Another situation over which I had no control. Another time when my mother's heart was aching and it felt unbearable. Another time when I was unable to save my child from harm. Another one of my worst fears becoming a reality.
The past two weeks have been rough for me. There have been so many reminders of the painful time in my life when it felt like the wind was knocked out of me. There was the return of sleepless nights, hypervigilence, tension headaches, irritability, lack of emotional flexibility to handle day-to-day tasks, wanting to keep my kids in the house where it seems safe and simple, and spending more time in the safe zone...my bed.
There will be times when life seems to be going along good at rapid speed, and something happens that puts a halt to everything and takes you back to your time of loss and grief. Take the time you need to care for your physical and emotional needs. Allow yourself space to process your current situation and the past feelings of loss that may have been resurrected. Healing is a process. You made it through once and you will make it through again. Just know that each time, you rise out of the ashes of pain more resilient and stronger than you were before.