Managing When Life Throws You A Curveball

“Baseball calls it a curveball for a reason: you just don’t know where some pitches will land… Therefore your bench must be broad and deep enough to overcome”  Christine Pelosi

Family members of ours have recently suffered a serious traumatic event so we are all now facing challenges that none of us ever expected to face and I’m searching for the silver linings, but how do you do that when life throws a hurtling curveball right to the faces of the people you love?

Right now, we are watching some of our grandkids, so the family can be on hand at the hospital, and I’m feeling an overwhelming amount of apprehension because I just don’t want to mess this up.  We’ve been entrusted to keep their little hearts safe and give them all the love and support that they need while we all navigate through this long and difficult process. I don’t want to tell the kids something that they interpret one way or take it out of context, and it causes them extra worry and stress or worse yet, that they think I’ve lied or kept important information from them. For example, I told them that it will be ok and that we will deal with whatever comes together as a family. We will hold each other up, we will laugh together, cry together and heal together because that’s what our family does. What I don’t want, is for their little ears to hear that their loved one will be ok – I mean what the heck does ok look like anyway? There is just so much uncertainty at this point.  So, I find myself every day weighing my words and they feel so heavy at times. There is also the fact that I want to tell them things that are age appropriate because they know some of what is happening but not everything (thankfully their parents are in touch most days and they take this on). The kids know their parents are gone right now (although they have been able to steal away back home for a couple of days to hug the kids and sleep in their own bed which is a bonus for everyone) and I think the kids understand why, but I can’t say with 100% certainty that they do. You know what it is like when you are a kid, 5 minutes can feel like 5 hours and a week can feel like a month and so on and so on. Add that on top of the fact that we have 2 kids here that are total opposites – one wants to know as many details as possible and one is super uncomfortable with the details.  It’s a real land mine requiring side stepping, ducking and weaving!

So, I have been reading a bit on how to navigate this and support our family and I think I have a few workable strategies and just maybe they may make sense for you as well if you were to find yourself in a traumatic situation.

Find your anchors or the things that ground you and make you feel calm, and which will help you navigate these stormy times. For the kids, we have been trying to keep their normal routine –  they are going to school (although we have enlisted the teachers and counsellors to help if they notice the kids needing some extra love and support), they are still going to their dance classes, and they are dancing and singing whenever possible at home – even though the oldest thinks that dance should be done the second her eyes open up and should continue until they close at the end of the day, but its better than moping around! They are also spending time with aunts, uncles, family friends, etc and are loving every minute of it!

For us old folks, we continue our coffees in the morning routine, I’m working on my blog, we are both meditating, I’m having lunch with my girlfriends once a month, practicing self-care, in general, just keeping our life as normal as possible.  In a nutshell, find what works for you and use it to give yourself consistency and familiarity to guide you through the ups and downs of life. These are good skills to practice all the time, not only when life throws you for a loop.

We are reminding the kids and ourselves that it’s okay to be sad. It’s also okay to be happy. When life gets tough, we can easily stop giving ourselves permission to also enjoy it, or parts of it. It’s awesome having the kids here because they are teaching us this very lesson.  They get sad at times, we let them have those feelings, but they also are playing, singing, and having fun and they remind us that even in the darkest moments there is room for joy. When they are sad, we hug them, and we tell them how much we love them, and we tell them it’s ok to be scared, angry and sad.  As adults, we should let ourselves see the good, especially when. the world seems to be crumbling around you, look for it and appreciate it. If we feel happy, we need to allow ourselves the grace to enjoy it, celebrate it and remember that happiness and sadness can exist at the same time.

We are focusing on reassurance and hope and we are encouraging them to do what they feel in their hearts to do so they have made videos, coloured pictures, made window sun catchers for the hospital window and whatever else they need to do to make them feel that they are helping.

I am attempting to stay in the moment (I falter alot but I’m working on it) – I’m working hard to tune into my feelings and listening to my body,  slowing down my thoughts.  I’m not only focusing on what is right in front of me, I am also trying to keep my Multiple Sclerosis in check as we all know what stress can do for this disease. The funny thing is, while it is much busier and louder in our house than we are used to, I don’t feel particularly stressed. What I do know is that I can tend to get stuck in the future, worrying, planning & obsessing. But if this event has taught me anything, it is that the future is never certain. Things happen in life which we can’t control and sometimes these things can be devastating. They can stop us in our tracks, but we can overcome them.

For now, we are thankful for the gift of being able to spend more time with the grandkids and appreciating the youthfulness that they bring back into our home – what more can a grandma ask for?

I’d love to hear your coping techniques when life throws you for a loop!



4 Comments Add yours

  1. It seems that you are doing a good job of supporting your family during this difficult time. My only advice would be to make sure you continue to make your health and well being a top priority and to allow the littles to help you in any way possible to deal with the extra workload you are currently experiencing. Good luck, take care, and my thoughts go out to you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts! My family is great with proving extra support so I can have a few minutes out! Thanks for reading ♥️

  2. BERNADETTE says:

    My son, Andrew, spent 15 years minimally conscious in a care facility. You advise about giving yourself permission to be happy is a very important self care rule to remember in long term stress problem. Continue to take care of yourself and your family and my thoughts and prayers will be with you.

    1. Oh my gosh, I can’t imagine what you went through on those 16 years. I’m so sorry ♥️. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers

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