New Normal

Posted by on August 31, 2010 at 11:51 am.

I used this phrase just after Dad died to update my Facebook status. It read something like’ we’re adjusting to find our new normal’. I’m amazed at the response it’s received.

I first heard this phrase after I lost my job a couple of years ago… during that big economic crash. I was attending a transitions course and that was one of the phrases they used. After all, losing a job is like losing a close family member. Your world changes and so does your perception of your personal identity.

Allow me to get philosophical for a minute.

Ideally we should always be striving for a new normal. Moving forward and not letting ourselves sit complacently by while the world revolves around us. Because quite frankly,

when the world revolves around us, it means we’re the only ones not moving.

I found a new normal when I graduated from High School, another after University and my wedding. New normals don’t always have to be to be because of bad things. A new baby creates a new reality as does having that child leave home as an adult, excited about making their own way in the world.

These are things to be celebrated.

So, what do I have to celebrate about my father’s death?

Well, celebrate his life for one. If there was no him, there would be no me.

I choose to celebrate the way he lived and even the way he died.

I don’t mean celebrate with party hats and cake. but to be thankful and grateful.

He’s dead, why be grateful?

I choose to be grateful that he was able to hold on until I got home and was able to say goodbye and the speed of his demise after that. I realize that wanting to be home was all about me and my ability to cope.

I’m grateful that my father was a man I could be and still am proud of.

I’m grateful that my coming home has been a comfort and not an inconvenience.

You’ll notice I added in the phrase “I choose.”

That dear friends is the key.

The situation will not change. I can only adjust my reaction to it. I can wail and pound my head against the wall but it will only give me a headache, not change what has happened.

So instead I make sure others are looked after, those who choose to wail and flail are given aspirin – and eventually a soundproof room. While I learn my lesson, treasure my memories and move on in my ‘New Normal’.

One Comment

  • Cousin Deb says:

    Susan I am not a bit surprise your phrase has caught on. Craig’s (my husband) dad is in palliative care and has between 1-5 days left. Those numbers mean so little when we have known for 10 years that his cancer was terminal. We have been blessed to be the family in the same city. We hold vigil and wait. Those who have not been able to visit are making time to come hold his hand and say their final goodbyes. We see his body fading away from not eating but are grateful for his lack of pain. We feel blessed to rub lotion on his large but so fragile hands in-between hurried visits and good byes. But the term “The New Normal” has become a strength to Craig’s mother and to our immediate family. It means life will go on and while we are mourning even now we are looking forward to the day he is released, the rituals complete and life can resume again. Different but doable. I’ve shared your phrase with many and it has become part of their vocabulary because it speaks of hope, renewal and acceptance of life’s unfailing changes. Thank you for sharing that with all of us.
    Love
    Cousin Deb
    (ps…not edited at all:) If I did that I’d never write anyone!!!)

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