Pleasant Surprises

My friend Ann is encouraging the practice of memoir writing among the population at large by posting regular writing prompts. I approve of this. Today, she encouraged all the people everywhere to write about a time they were pleasantly surprised.

Here are my thoughts.

Since Jack left our home, I’ve been on that oft-used metaphorical emotional roller-coaster. Some days are pretty good. Some days feel like my heart has been julienned. And then there was yesterday, when up until five pm, I felt happy, peaceful, content, but when I checked in on Jack via text, the rest of the night was a grief fest.

I’m not sure if it will ever feel right to me. Until we are all made whole in the next life and are unencumbered by disability, hardship, and sadness, I’m not sure that I will ever feel complete.

But, there have been some happy, unexpected things too.

  1. The ability to sleep late. It’s summertime. We are staying up late and, with no where to be early in the morning, we are sleeping in. Jack never slept in, which meant I never did either. But my other kids can putter around and entertain themselves for a bit in the morning while I slumber. This is an unimaginable luxury for someone who hasn’t slept late in roughly sixteen years.
  2. I am losing weight. Turns out stress is an excellent appetite suppressant. Grief has reordered my food cravings and my hunger cues. I still eat what I want, but I eat less. I’ve lost about twenty pounds, which feels like an okay accomplishment.
  3. I am no longer a ball of stress. Several people have remarked that I have a different energy about me now. I assume this is because I am not living a 24/7 fight or flight response. I can sit and have conversations with people without feeling antsy. I had forgotten that life can be peaceful. I am enjoying the ability to be calm and still.
  4. Jeff and I have the time and energy to focus on our other children. We are less testy, more patient. We are present for them. We can be spontaneous in a way that we never could before. It feels like freedom.
  5. Travel is suddenly a reality. We are preparing for a vacation with our sons that was out of the question for so long. I never thought it would ever be feasible. But here we are, after years and years of limitations, with a renewed vision of life playing out before us. I’m turning 40 in a few days, and I’m struck by the sense that life has various chapters that lead us to different, unexpected parts of our story. I find this exciting and rewarding.
  6. I’m so happy that Jack has kind, genuine people in his life still to care for him. They are a gift. I’m struck by the sense that God loves us enough to find us the help that we need. If it were up to me, I never would’ve found the good people in the small town who love Jack and take care of him now. But God knew who and what we needed, and he led us there.


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