Tough Decisions and Being Okay with Them

When my life took a horrible, unexpected turn seven weeks ago, I knew it would be changed forever—I now only have one kid to raise, instead of two, after all. One child onto which to pin all my hopes and dreams and fears. And of course the fears are exasperated, while I desperately work to keep the hopes and dreams in check. This is her life, not mine, no matter how much I would like to tell her exactly how I want it to turn out.

What I didn’t expect was quite how changed it would be. There are so many little things that otherwise would have gone completely unnoticed. There is far less laundry to wash and we run the dishwasher less often. We make smaller meals. The house doesn’t get messy quite as quickly as it once did. There are no arguments over what to watch when we have Family Movie Night.

The trip from Detroit to Dallas, when we went on vacation a few weeks ago, was a breeze. We hardly stopped, and there were no cries from the backseat: “Stay on your side.” “Stop touching me.” “No, I don’t want to share that [insert anything here].” And the one every parent loathes… “Are we there yet?” My daughter was far more fascinated with crossing state lines than she was in the final destination.

There are negative small, unexpected changes, as well. Who the hell is going to mow my lawn? Or snow blow my driveway next winter? My daughter believes emptying the dishwasher is torture, and now she has to do it every single time. She doesn’t understand why she cannot stay home alone, and half those snacks in the snack drawer need to be given away to someone, because she’s never going to eat them. Grocery shopping is more of a chore than ever, because I have to figure out what the hell my daughter likes to eat. My son ate anything, so I didn’t have to put much thought into snacks and breakfast food.

And then there are the big ones. While purchasing a cemetery plot for my son, my husband and I purchased the one right next door for ourselves, and selected the engraving for the headstone, too. Afterward, we joked that this was more permanent than getting married.

There have been some big changes in my writing life, too. I’ve hardly done much writing, partially due to grieving-inducing writer’s block and partially because I have little time to dedicate to it these days. We’re constantly busy, which is by design, as idle minds think about things they’d rather not dwell on. I’ve also taken a hiatus from editing. I’m not sure when I’ll get back to it, and that’s okay. Initially, I felt this overwhelming need to rush everything along, as if that would somehow rush along the healing process, too. But I’ve recently realized that isn’t going to happen, so it’s okay to slow down everything else, too.

Another big change—probably the biggest, as it pertains to writing—is I’ve backed out of attending the A Weekend With Authors event, which is scheduled for May 13-15 in Nashville, Tennessee. I was supposed to be one of the featured authors.

Weekend With Authors_May 2016

For two weeks I struggled with this decision. I tried giving myself mental pep talks; convincing myself it will be fun (I have no doubt it will be). But the scary reality is: I still cry at the drop of a hat, with no forewarning. As those crying jags have (finally) become less frequent, they also have become more potent, more of an ugly cry each time, instead of tears simply leaking from my eyes nearly every moment of every day.

I’m also afraid to go on long trips by myself right now, where I will be alone with my own thoughts for hours on end. I hate crying in front of anyone, let alone strangers. I don’t mind being the center of attention, but only when that attention is positive. Having everyone focus on me because of my uncontrolled grief is not my idea of a good time.

So I made the difficult decision to cancel. I’m just not ready. I can hide behind my keyboard and usually put on a brave face—sometimes even cheerful and/or funny face—but I am afraid I cannot do it in person. Not yet. I will get there, I know. As a dear friend pointed out to me, it is not in my nature to be miserable. Eventually, the good days will far outweigh the bad ones. But right now, that isn’t the case, and this convention is only a week and a half away, and I know that is not enough time to find my former self again—or at least some semblance of who I once was.

I’m sorry I will miss it. I know it will be a fabulous event, and I fully expect to, at least on some level, regret my decision not to go. But right now I feel only relief that I do not have to try to do something I’m not ready to do yet.

And that’s okay.

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author, wine drinker, writer of happily ever afters, and sometimes depressing blog posts. Despite the blog posts, there are still plenty of happily ever afters over on her website, www.tamilund.com.

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About Tami Lund

Author, Blogger, Wine Drinker, Award Winner. Writing happily ever afters, one book at a time.
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37 Responses to Tough Decisions and Being Okay with Them

  1. I’m sorry for your loss. I’m quite certain that the people of the event fully understand. I don’t think I could do something like that after just seven weeks. Hugs and prayers to you and your family.

  2. Hi Tami, My condolences to you and your family. Take this time to focus on yourself and don’t be afraid to apply some extreme self-care. As for outside commitments…say Yes only when you feel you are ready.

  3. Anne Cleasby says:

    Hi Tami,
    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I’m sure that everyone associated with the event will understand and know that you need to think of yourself and your family at this time. There will be other events for you when you are ready,
    Thinking of you,
    Anne

  4. Annie Stiles says:

    You don’t know me, Tami, but I just wanted to send prayers and positive thoughts along with my deepest condolences to you and your family.
    Wishing comfort for you,
    Annie

  5. I think of you often and what you’re going through. I’m glad you’re able to talk about it through blogs. I enjoyed your posts about your trip and couldn’t thinking how hard it must have been for you and family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  6. Beth Carter says:

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your son. I’m sure it’s therapeutic to write about your grief and how your life has changed. I don’t blame you a bit for holding on tight to your daughter and for canceling the event. There will be others when you’re ready. We had a horrific family tragedy a few years ago (a murder–how I hate that word) and I did the same. I’d be okay for a while and then would burst into tears in public. I did it once at Barnes & Noble and moved from aisle to aisle sobbing. People probably thought I was nuts. Big hugs as you work through this. You’ll never be quite whole again but time and staying busy really does help.

    • Tami Lund says:

      Exactly what we’re trying to do, Beth. So sorry for your tragedy as well. I can’t even imagine – !!

  7. traceyawood says:

    Oh matey, i’m so, so sorry for you loss. I won’t write reams and reams of text but just know that we are all thinking of you and your family. Take care xx

  8. Sheila Willert says:

    Tami,
    I have no words that have not been said already. But be assured that I am thinking them. It is hard to be strong. Please know that I am thinking positive thoughts and I remember you in my prayers. There is no time limit for grief. Take what you need for you and your family. Those of us who love your writing will be here waiting for your next wonderful offering.

  9. Tami – I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your son. It’s very sad and I hope you find comfort with time. Reminds us all to cherish each day with our family. If there’s anything I can do to help, please ask.

  10. Tami, Other opportunities will come about, and right now you must do what you feel comfortable doing. In time you’ll be stronger and better prepared to face an audience.

  11. Dear Tami, I don’t know how you even wrote this blog post. My heart is gripped with sorrow for you and your family. I know there are better days ahead, but nothing I or anyone else can say will speed the process. I wish you peace and healing.
    Kindest wishes,
    Tema

    • Tami Lund says:

      Thank you. Writing has always been my “happy place,” although I am also surprised I’m able to write about this particular subject. Surprised, but also relieved, as it does help, a little.

  12. spike1943 says:

    Tami we don’t know each other as I’m new to you as a reader just as your new to me as an author. But I think you did the right thing. You need to take all the time you need to go through the grieving process. Can’t even imagine what it must be like to lose a child. You are in my thoughts an prayers and I wish you some peace. 🙏

  13. Christine Hart says:

    It’s been said many times above, but I am so sorry for your loss. I’m sure no words can help, but please accept my condolences. Don’t worry about writing ‘depressing’ blog posts. Do it as many times as you need. No one would fault you for a moment.

  14. Roni Hall says:

    I am so sorry for your loss and can not even imagine your pain. Just know you and your family are in my prayers. Take your time and heal. Things will fall in to place in time.

  15. Tami, I am so, so sorry for your loss. And I want to thank you for sharing your feelings with us here. There are no wrong decisions with something like this–only the one that works for you. Take care of yourself. *hugs*

  16. L.D. Rose says:

    Oh, Tami *hugs* Take all the time you need to take care of yourself and your family. I’m sure those who put together the event will understand.

  17. Tami,
    I am so very sorry to hear your news. I hope it becomes easier as time goes on. Your courage shines through in your post. Your daughter will understand some day why you may hold onto her tightly. There will be other writerly events. Wishing you strength and peace. You’ll get there.

  18. maggiermundy says:

    Take care of yourself and those you love around you. We hurt when we lose people because we opened our hearts to love. When I went through grief I tried to do it alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get help. Sending healing thoughts to you.

    • Tami Lund says:

      Good advice, Maggie. I couldn’t handle this alone. I hardly can with the wonderful support network I have!

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