Finding Rhythm

A football team in September will never look the same by the end of their season. Every month, sometimes even every game, there are changes to the team. By the end of the year, the team has been molded into a different unit.  Injuries happen, break-out players emerge, a new offensive scheme completely tanks and the head coach is left scratching his head trying to figure out how to fix it. In football, coaches and players are always looking to find their rhythm. Find your rhythm, “RELAX”, “Run the Table” to quote Aaron Rodgers and maybe you’ll find yourself in the postseason.

Lately, I think my life is a lot like this. I am coming to realize, there might not be any normal in life. Maybe, there isn’t normal for any of us. What is normal anyway? Grief isn’t normal, that I know for sure. It is different for everyone at any given time. It changes and looks different at every hour of my day.

Instead of trying to find what normal means in life, what if we learned to live life finding our rhythm?  Change is scary but living life really happens when change happens. Living “the dash” between life and death. Anything in life I was ever scared of, brought change and blessings to my life.

I was scared of my husband dying. It petrified me. His death has brought change to my life, change I didn’t and don’t want. It has also brought blessings to my life. Has it been difficult? Yes, extremely. Do I want my old life back? Yes, every minute. Have the blessings I have seen and been given changed my life and my sons’ lives in ways I cannot even begin to describe? Yes, definitely.

One of the few things in life that stays the same is change is constant. Change is scary. It doesn’t allow us to move backwards, only forwards. The only true thing in life that can ease change is faith. Adam, the boys and I were also blessed to have an incredible pack of people around us. This has certainly helped ease the changes our family has gone through. Unfortunately, I know from working with families over my career, that faithful family and friends are not a guarantee in life. God is a guarantee in life though.

One of the first things I did after Adam was diagnosed was call our Pastor. He could barely understand me through my crying. I was worried he wouldn’t remember Adam and I because we were such quiet members of our small church. Faith helped us find a rhythm and continues to help me find a new rhythm without Adam by my side. It helps to ease the hole left in my heart.

Today was the first time I have been to church since the Sunday after Adam passed. I’ll be honest with all of you, praying has been almost non-existent in my day. At dinner I used to always lead the dinner prayer. If it wasn’t for our friend starting it almost every night, it wouldn’t happen until our last bites (or not at all). I am taking my Pastor’s word that God hears me when I am not praying. Adam and I had periods like this when he was alive. We were reassured even when we are not formally praying God hears us. Lately, I have been trying to change that and be more mindful of what I need or want from God. Until then though, I trust He will hear what is inside my heart.

Sometimes when I sit down to write, I don’t know what my fingers will type or what my take away point will be. This post started off with intentions of me venting and complaining about how hard life is as a single, young, widowed mom. Sharing with you how hard it has been trying to find a new rhythm in life. It is taking much longer to find some new routines then I would like. I don’t have patience to wait for life to figure itself out. What I still do have, is my faith and belief in knowing God, Adam and my guardian angels are with me. I’ll find our rhythm over time, until then, I’ll just float along trying to figure my new life out as I go.

I will leave you today with a few quick news and notes of life at the Czech household:

-Reggie is moving and grooving, playing with the dog bowls, trying to eat my plants (can someone tell me if plant leaves are on the edible list for infants?!), and is an overall happy baby who is getting into everything. He LOVES watching his older brother and loves to laugh with mommy. His smile is contagious, no doubt about that!

-Edward is also extremely busy and gave up naps months ago. I am always “on the clock” with this guy. I am so grateful for our friend living with us who helps get some of Edward’s energy and goofiness out at night. Our two nannies also deserve a huge shout out because I look forward to them coming once a week to give me a break.

Edward is moving forward in his grief, trying hard to understand how death works and what cancer is. He is such a smart boy and responds well to books which helps. Edward and I will be starting a grief group series at a hospital next month to help us both understand what he is going through. I hope meeting other children his age who have lost a parent helps him feel less alone. The last few weeks are getting emotionally harder as a parent because he has so many questions and fears. I share many of those same questions and fears myself as an adult.

-And me, Julianna, Mommy? I am looking forward to starting counseling again as well. Adam and I had a wonderful counselor at the Masonic Cancer Center and my last session with her was in December, when I met with her and Adam’s care team.  I am trying hard to put on my oxygen mask first, so I can be better mommy, as so many have pointed out to me this last week. There is a ton of mom guilt when I take time for myself. I need it, I so badly need it. I fear it is going to take a long time before my body and mind relaxes a little after the last thirteen months. The boys don’t really offer much of a chance to catch my breath, which is a blessing but also makes it very difficult to process what has happened. Since we found out about Adam’s tumor on December 1, 2015, I’ve been on overdrive. Overall, I feel I do well at taking care of myself but every week there is a new rhythm I am trying to find in the house. Edward has gotten into a groove of playing while I exercise so there is at least 30 minutes a day where I am physically taking care of my body the last couple weeks.

The latest challenge was Edward coming down with a cold this week and being worried he would die because he was sick. Emotionally, I was worn down this week helping him try to sort these fears out. In time, I will catch my breath, but right now I still feel like I am running a sprint when this should be a marathon.
On a positive note, last Sunday, Jersey Al helped me get to the Packers playoff game at Lambeau with my Dad and two sisters. It was a great afternoon, an awesome game to see in person with an electric crowd. Adam was on my mind every minute and it was a very bittersweet game for me. I loved every minute of it and I know Adam was with me. I missed hugging him, shouting out a Ric Flair “WHOO!” and passing out high fives with him after awesome plays.

He did give me three distinct signs he was there with me through songs and the Hail Mary pass that was thrown directly into our end zone. When we arrived and parked the truck, the opening song to the sports show coming on was our wedding song by Elvis Presley, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (an ironic choice I thought for opening a radio sports show). When my Dad and I were walking out of the stadium, “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa was blaring through the halls of Lambeau. The lyrics to this song brought tears to my eyes, you can hear why here.

-Last but not least, Matilda is back at the house and doing well. We are working on some training with her so she is better at welcoming people into the house. So far, she is not complaining as she loves being home, we love having her home, and she loves all the treats associated with training!

Until next time, be kind to one another. And Go Pack Go