On April 14, 2012, my mother passed away. This year it will be the tenth anniversary of the worst day of my life. I don't know if I can say it was THE worst day because the 11 days leading up to the 14th were all dreadful. My mother had been in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's. She was nonverbal, but she was still able to recognize me as someone she loved. She had an intestinal blockage, and it blew out, causing her to go septic. When we arrived in the ER, the doctor gave us the prognosis of "she has hours to live." Those hours turned into 11 days. I'm not going to go into detail on those days. It's not the point of this post. What I want to talk about is how pain and discomfort pushes one to make changes.
Never has a person said, "My life is perfect. I'm happier than I have been. I'm going to change everything." When a person is content and happy, they relish the moments and live in the moment. However, when pain, sadness, discomfort occurs, it can serve as motivation to look for answers. Yes, people can get stuck in misery; they can wallow in despair, afraid of what might be on the other side. If you are one of those people who are stuck, please know that I am not coming from a place of judgment. I want you to know there are options if you look for them.
My whole identity was wrapped up in being a caretaker for my mom. She was in a nursing home, but that last year of her life, I was up at the nursing home feeding her dinner every night. My social life was talking with the CNAs that were working and the other residents. I got to know the residents and their families. Outside of work, everything revolved around my mother. When she passed, I had nowhere to go, no one to see. I had lost my mother and my best friend, as well as my entire life.
Once I got past the worst of the grieving, I realized I had to rebuild my life. Changes were thrust upon me through no fault of my own. I chose to rebuild my life. Life is all about making choices. We may even choose not to make a choice, and that is still a choice!
One of the things I love most about coaching is that I don't have to have the answers. Each of us has to find our solutions for ourselves. Coaching is about holding space, providing a safe container for the individual to search for their answers. Change can be uncomfortable, even scary, but the journey of discovery is what life is all about. It is about growth and moving towards being what we are meant to be.
Even in death, my mother was my greatest teacher, and I know she watches over me still.