Sunday, February 15, 2015

What Is Normal?

Occasionally life is really topsy-turvy and I find myself wanting it to get back to normal. Then I have to stop and think, "What is normal?"

Daddy died about two weeks ago. People ask me how I'm doing, and I can honestly say I'm OK right now. I cry sometimes, and that's normal. I'm still able to take care of my daily duties. That's normal, too. Grief is a weird thing even when it's being completely normal.

Life for me has had so many drastic changes that I've almost given up trying to have a "normal" life because apparently it's just not going to happen. But I don't know everyone else's circumstances. Maybe "normal"  lives don't exist at all except in the confines of our most idealistic daydreams.

It's normal for normal to not be normal. At least that's how I've come to see it.

So now I have to learn to deal with a new normal. My parents have been such a big part of my life that I can hardly imagine what life will be like without Daddy. Because he always traveled for work, half the time it just seems like he's gone on a trip. Then I remember that he isn't coming back...

I tear up a bit when I remember that. That's OK. It's normal.

I'm still Looking Up. God has always been and always will be a constant. Maybe that is the true definition of normal.


I have wanted to continue blogging for the past two weeks, but have not known what on earth to write since Daddy died. There has been such an outpouring of love from everyone around me that I don't even know quite how to take it in. I appreciate each one that has been there for us and prayed for us.

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  1. I'm so sorry about your Daddy. Continue praying for you all. I love your writing & always look forward to your posts!

    1. The whole family appreciates your prayers. And thank you! I've enjoyed the writing so far and really wish I could post more often.

  2. I definitely have felt pressure to have a "normal" life. But I have come to think the idea of "normal" is just a cultural idea, and not a particularly healthy one. The idea of "normal" seems, to me, full of "shoulds"...i.e. we should feel this way, shouldn't feel this way, we should accomplish these goals or milestones by these time points, we shouldn't do the following list of bad things, etc.

    For me, I've found that way of thinking really incompatible with any sort of real grief or loss, for one, but also really constraining with respect to opportunity and dreaming.

    Like, I often felt pressure to experience grief or pain in a certain way. I think it was really liberating when I learned to just take what emotions I was experiencing, and observe them, without judging them. Sometimes I had situations where I felt this social pressure to grieve, but I didn't actually feel any emotions. Other times I've burst into tears in the most "inappropriate" settings. I found though that I started feeling better, and living more the way I wanted to, when I stopped judging myself for these things.

    So I don't know if this can help but maybe it can.

    About the opportunity though, I also find the idea of "normal" can also really hold that back. Like when I think of my biggest goals and dreams, they almost all involve something that seems "outside the box" in some way, like breaking some sort of social norm. A lot of the times, people have reacted to the things I say, by saying they seem weird, sometimes people react negatively and say they think it's a bad idea. But they're my dreams, and when I think about them, they are very well thought-out.

    I think if we hold ourselves to the standard of "normal", we can become slaves to an arbitrary cultural construct that we played no role in creating. We can judge ourselves or others needlessly too. And we can shut down other people's dreams, or even our own.

    I'd rather just embrace life as being weird. The weirdness can be challenging at times, but it can also be a beautiful thing.

    1. I've come to think of "normal" as being nothing more than an idealistic abstract idea with no foundation in reality, so I don't really hold myself to it. I learned to start embracing my "weirdness" a few years ago, and it felt really liberating.

      I don't think that I felt any pressure to behave "normally" while grieving. As you said, take what emotions come as they come without judging them or their timing. I feel that it has been the healthiest way for me to grieve and find emotional healing.

      Thank you for your comments. I find them to be insightful.