When It Rains, It Pours
Updated: Mar 1, 2021
"Here comes the rain again… raining in my head like a tragedy…”
- Eurythmics 1983
Okay well I think it’s safe to say that I have officially learned the definition of the word chaos. The dictionary defines it as “complete disorder and confusion”. That sounds about right.
You guys know how I feel about clichés right? Remember that story about the lemonade? I am kind of okay with them when things are going well. Turns out I am NOT a fan of clichés when the shit HITS the fan. The same we reasons we love a good cliché – they simplify ideas and make them tangible – are the reasons I am hating them now. I cannot simplify the death of my husband or make this crazy story AT ALL tangible for myself. And I definitely don’t want anyone else to try to do that for me… my grief, my choice of clichés, thank you very much!
When tragedy of any kind strikes – whatever that looks like (Your baby has diarrhea? They announce the final season of Ozark? Your husband dies? People say they don’t like Ellen? A global pandemic?) – the clichés just start flowing!
Here is the one that is killing me right now…
“The universe only gives you what you can handle.”
Let us say that again…with some ALL-CAPS emphasis….
“The universe ONLY gives you what you can HANDLE.”
I used to live by that idea. It is comforting, right? Like, nothing TOO bad could happen. It wouldn’t, right? Cause if it was TOO bad, we just couldn’t handle it.
Ummmm, yeah. Okay. Let’s explore this a little. I am just going to air the laundry list of ridiculousness that has occurred since my beloved husband exited this earth and let’s see how we feel about how much we are expected to handle, shall we?
My little list of "events-to-be-handled" goes like this…
(and these are just the note worthy items)
1. Darcy leaves the house one day and doesn’t come home. Enter onslaught of painful lines of questioning, weeks of shock, telling our kids, rummaging through the bathroom for suitable DNA samples from razors and toothbrushes… I mean, you can imagine all the details if you want to, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
2. Three days after Darcy leaves, Miller (my invincible 10 year-old son who lives with the physical condition Cerebral Palsy) breaks his foot. This requires me to piggy back him around while he whacks my ass and calls me “Bullseye” (no joke!) and I have literally been carrying him around to protect that foot so it doesn’t further compromise his already limited mobility. No Big Deal. I can handle it, right?!
3. My furnace breaks – I get to spend $2000 and 2 full days hanging out with a millennial plumber.
4. The dashboard lights in my truck start telling me my tire pressure is low and apparently the truck needs something called an “annual maintenance visit”?? Don’t we have “people” for this? My complete lack of knowledge around motor vehicles really does beg the question of whether I should actually be operating one, but that is a whole other blog post!
5. Hot water is no longer flowing in my house and the brand new washing machine isn’t working! Ohhhhh oops! It turns out that the millennial plumber unplugged the washer but didn’t bother to plug it back in (phew) and his butt had adjusted the hot water level by accident!
(I am pretty sure millennials are famous for their lack of attention to detail and plumbers are famous for their butts, so not exactly a major dilemma here. Still… I didn’t need the additional shock to my system!)
6. Halloween! A favourite holiday for my kids and their Dad. In an attempt to be a really supportive and fun Mom, I agreed to dress as “Barb” the rock troll from the film “Trolls World Tour” and THIS is what happened…
...enough said. Talk about tragic.
7. Halloween night, the microwave (which we use approximately twice a year) no longer works.
8. Darcy’s Dad dies, unexpectedly. No lie. (Still handling it all!)
9. 25 years of saving and financial planning sits in high-risk stock market investments, untouchable and unprotected, until I have the luxury of a death certificate which is nowhere near my grasp at this point. No, I get to pay lawyers to help me go to the Supreme Court for that! Sounds like fun, right? I can totally handle it. Bring it, universe.
10. And now the engine light in the truck has come on AGAIN and… wait for it… THIS time, a RAT has built a nest in my cozy engine and has chewed through some of the wires resulting in another $800 trip to the “Parts and Service” department at Lexus!
And I am going to stop at 10. You can’t make this shit up, people.
OHHHH this just in…
11. At the time of publishing this our beloved 9 year old cat, Kitty Bleu, gets diagnosed with kidney disease and cancer. WOW. Just wow.
Please don’t tell my kids yet.
So this brings me back to clichés and what we can handle. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and trying to figure it out. It brings me back to all the big questions… Is this bad karma catching up with me? Is this all happening because the universe thinks I am a really strong individual and that I deserve to be challenged to keep life interesting? Or is it chaos in the cosmos? I don’t really have an answer for you but I have learned this…
once again, I have a choice.
We always have a choice. It is the same choice I have in every situation, in every moment. Will I choose to REACT out of FEAR? Or will I choose to RESPOND with LOVE? I
t’s a simple choice, but a difficult one at times.
Let me clarify. Choosing love over fear doesn’t mean that I love that my kid’s foot is broken. It doesn’t mean that I have to love the fact that a rat was living in (and eating parts of!) my truck and that I throw up in my mouth a little every time I think of that! It just means we have to sit with any situation and decide through which lens we will view it and how we will allow it to affect us, moving forward.
For example, when I took the rat-truck to the service department I could have fearfully focussed on the misfortune, the cost of the repairs, the fact that in that particular space I am literally surrounded by cars that are EXACTLY like the car my husband parked and left behind when he took his last breaths. Trigger much?!
I could have yelled at the poor mechanic who told me the rat news. I could have started worrying about the cost and been rudely reactive to the manager who took my credit card payment. Instead, I took a quick moment to set an intention to stay calm and loving. I chose to sit in gratitude for the simple fact that I was safe. Gratitude for the fact that I had the resources to get help. I felt especially grateful when the ‘Parts and Service’ manager (who I had never met) CRIED in my presence when I told him that my husband had died. I guess, over the years, he and Darcy had built a bit of a relationship and had some cool conversations because those are the kind of quietly profound interactions Darcy had with almost all the people he came into contact with. Focusing on THAT made me feel an overwhelming sense of love for my husband and now I know I am in great hands when it comes to my vehicle – they will help me with anything that I need - and it feels like earthly SUPPORT from Darcy because of that relationship he built.
That is a GOOD feeling when you are newly widowed and know fuck all about motor vehicles! That is the feeling I got because I chose the lens of love. I chose to focus on the light there.
(I also chose to go straight home and make a spray with my pure peppermint essential oil for my engine and wheel-wells which, apparently, keeps the rats away! So far so good! You’re welcome!)
There have been so many upsetting and frustrating times in my journey where I have had to practice choosing love, and I think these “opportunities” may keep coming for a while as I navigate all the learning curves of life without Darcy. l just keep taking it on and, like any practice, the more I do it, the more it sticks and the easier it gets to find that light. That said, it isn't easy and I don't always make the best choice. Sometimes I just need to vent and be mad and be HEARD. Fear and all. It is important to find a safe person (or five!) that can hold space for you in those moments - someone who can listen without trying to fix you or change how you feel. I think Glennon Doyle explained it perfectly when she said...
"A friend is someone who can just sit with you and not play God."
Sometimes we need to purge our frustrations to help the healing, too. Shadows need to be acknowledged, explored and fully felt. Only then can we get back to the business of shedding some light on the subject.
The universe may give us A LOT to handle, and I truly feel that I have had my fair share. Even before I lost Darcy, he and I handled plenty of adversity. It has truly felt like punishment at times. It really has. I won’t minimize that here. It totally sucks sometimes. It is HARD for me right now. Maybe it is for you, too.
But please look at it this way… The universe isn’t dishing up this shit to upset us. The universe doesn't even think in the language of "good" or "bad". The universe is neutral. She's just dishing up situations that bring us valuable lessons if we wish to learn them. We didn’t do anything to deserve a raw deal. It is just the human experience of life on earth. It’s a healthy dose of CHAOS, with a side order of deep meaning. And the truth is, we CAN handle it. We ARE handling it. When we lean toward what is light, it becomes manageable chaos and an opportunity to grow, to gain strength and to model choosing love and light to others. That can’t be a bad thing.
Personally, I love having this choice because it is the TINY little bit of control I have in any given experience. As a self-proclaimed “need-to-know” kinda control freak living in a world where I don’t GET to control much, this just feels good.
And so it comes back to making that choice. Fear or love? Maybe nothing can totally take away the pain of a situation, but which approach will make things feel a little lighter, put us in the driver’s seat and raise our vibration? I think we all know the answer.
It's like finding the faintest hint of a rainbow during a storm. It's always a worthwhile search.
Til next time,
Heal and be healed.
P.S. Rest in Peace, Wild Cat. Kitty Bleu, we loved with our whole hearts.