These are my people. They complete me.
I tried to get a selfie with all of them, but of course it takes 50 attempts to get one that is even close to sharable. You never know what they will do! So this is the best we could get.
We just completed a 600 mile road trip in two days. Needless to say, the car was full of food wrappers, laughs, complete chaos at times, complaining, but oh so much love. Lol.
Really though, driving at length in the car while my precious cargo slept, my mind had ample time to reflect on my life, past and present.
Here I was almost 14 years later, driving with my kids. This was a day I never thought would come.
You see, right after Lydia died there was a time when I wasn’t able to drive. After the accident, I was petrified to get behind the wheel, paralyzed with fear.
I didn’t trust myself. Guilt ridden and terrified, and there was absolutely no way I could ever drive again, let alone drive with my children in the car.
I never wanted to drive again and riding as a passenger proved to be just as challenging.
I can remember my gradual progression towards being in the car again. First becoming a passenger, only riding short distances, flinching and reacting suddenly at everything in sight. Such a strange experience, one that still haunts me sometimes.
And then I graduated to the phase where I could drive alone to the store, very slowly. I sobbed the entire way to buy that gallon of milk, not going above 35 miles an hour. But I went because I had to.
My thoughts raced, consuming my every move. Was it even possible for me to operate a vehicle with a child again?
Finally, after trying to find ways to avoid it, two months later I had no choice but to drive my son to school. This caused a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear. I had to leave extra early, as we drove at the pace of a turtle, but I did it.
And then I regressed back to a phase where I couldn’t drive alone again. I have no idea why. I guess it was how my mind processed this horrific trauma. I became a master at avoidance and retreating.
Then again, I began the phase where I could drive, however, I wouldn’t drive long distances with my children, just short local trips.
And now here I am driving on lengthy road trips with all of my children and driving on trips alone. All the time.
Never thought I would see the day. Amazingly, I have overcome it. I have conquered that fear. Not to say that it’s not always in the back of my mind because it is. But it doesn’t control me anymore.
You know, sometimes I sit in awe thinking back to how much I have changed since 7/16/08. I’m a different person now. So much stronger.
Yet, I still have fear and face it every day. I don’t have a choice, and you probably don’t either.
Fear is our defense mechanism that activates as we try to protect ourselves, our emotional response to trauma. Pain sucks. Being scared is uncomfortable, and it can be so frightening to even think about confronting our fears. So we do whatever we can to avoid them. I get it. I do that too.
I’m here to remind you…
Whether it’s your:
Fear of failure
Fear of rejection
Fear of change
Fear of loss
Fear of being judged
Fear of the unknown
Fear of anxiety
Fear of being alone
Fear of regret
Fear of the future
Fear of death
Fear of not being enough
Fear of accidents
Fear of driving
The list is endless. Whatever your fear or challenges are, remember you can conquer them.
I am proof you can do the impossible.
Walking in these grief filled cement boots we all wear is the hardest thing we’ll ever have to do. It takes a lot of strength, courage and guts. And you are doing it. Everyday.
Healing from trauma takes a long time. It’s different for everyone, a lifelong process that we are always cognizant of, working through day by day.
We can rest assured that God gives us the strength we need to face our demons. So when you think you can’t possibly go on, believe and know you are brave, you are capable. You can do this, you can overcome it. Most importantly, know you are not alone.
Sending you so much love,