The Sweetness of Normal

When people hear the word normal immediately they typically think of descriptions such as boring, uneventful, plain, ordinary-you know, normal. I used to think the exact same way, as if normal was a bad thing or at the very least an undesirable state in which to live. Notice I said I used to view normal in this way, but I do not any longer. I remember very vividly the turning point in my life when my opinion of normal changed and my heart ached for life to once again be normal.

When my dad’s cancer was diagnosed it had already progressed to stage 4 and he was very ill. The oncologist never gave us any hope that he would be able to defeat the monster that was consuming his body and we knew we did not have much time left with him. Since my parents were still young people and not yet eligible for Medicare, mom had to continue working to keep their health insurance that was provided by her employer. My sisters and I all lived out-of-town and we would alternate weeks caring for dad while mom was at work. All to quickly the end was in sight and dad was the first one to tell us. We called hospice in and almost immediately they told us it was time to get everyone home to say good-bye.

My mom, sisters and I all stayed together at my parents home knowing that after dad’s life slipped away we would never again be whole. We reminisced, laughed, cried and we talked about lost moments and wasted time. At one point we needed a few things from the grocery and I was elected to go. I found myself deep in thought as I made the short drive to the grocery and a profound sadness like I had never felt before covered me like a fog. I entered the grocery and as I went to get a cart, I just stopped and looked around. I watched people in the store going about the business of living their normal lives. I saw moms scolding their little ones, couples laughing as they filled their carts, business women obviously in a hurry to check one more chore off the to-do-list and cashiers check out customers. All of them so oblivious to the impending loss that waited for me at my parents house and I wondered if they had a clue how blessed they were that they still had their normal. I was so envious of all these people, jealous if I were to be honest, because my heart was breaking and I wanted desperately for life to be normal again but knew it never would be. It never could be.

There are so many blessings God has given to each of us quietly tucked into every “normal” day we live. There are as many normal blessings as there are the number of breaths we take and they surround us everywhere. We much too often take them for granted and overlook them but when they disappear and are no longer to be found it is only then we realize the sweet, precious treasures they were. Each of us will at some time in our life suffer the loss of our normal, however as time allows we find a new normal and when we do we must be mindful to cherish everything about it.

Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.