We grow up with beliefs of what our lives should look like. That’s the problem right there with expectations. I pictured my life to be normal like my parents – grow up in a nice family, go to college, get married to the love of my life, have a bunch of kids, raise them, retire, and then be grandparents until the age of 90 or so. Nope, my life didn’t go as planned. I’m finding out a lot of people feel the same way. But wait! This was not the way it was SUPPOSED TO BE! I’m kinda mad about this. I’m not sure who or what to be mad at, but what about all these great expectations?!
When Jay passed away I had to spend some time mourning those expectations that I thought would be. I had watched people on the news lose their spouses, but nothing would ever happen to me or my family like that! Well just like that there my family was – on the news with a missing father and husband. Then days later his body was found. This can’t be happening! This was NOT the plan! What about all of those unlived years? But it doesn’t look like I get to choose that anymore. I only get to choose how to respond. I knew my life wasn’t going to be perfect but I thought at least it would be long for both of us! So grieving the belief that bad things DON’T happen just moved to the top of my TO-DO list. I don’t like it.
How did I get this dumb belief anyway? It’s all I had ever seen. I didn’t know anyone really well that had passed away at a young age. I thought modern medicine cures and accidents happen on the news or in movies and nobody I know would ever take their own life. I mean who does that? Oh, there it is happening to little ol’ me. This was a wake-up call! So much for preparing my kids for the future that bad things happen to good people- because it happened to us. Crap happens. To us.
I wanted a reason. Why?! This death shattered all my beliefs and expectations. I believed if we lived right and did what we were supposed to, we all would live long. Oh gosh, now that this happened I turned to fear- if this can happen once, it can happen again! Should I expect that now? Nothing felt safe and secure anymore so I had to dig really deep.
Some people have gone so far as to create the expectation they had with their loved ones. If they were planning on a trip they watched a movie about it or went on the trip anyway and brought the memories of their loved ones along. They visited special places that they had memories from- like a campground or Disneyland. Loved ones still had dinner at their favorite restaurant for their anniversary or birthday. If it helps you to physically go through with the expectation to clear it from your head- do it.
If your loved one died young many people will tell you that they or you were cheated. They should have lived a long life. That’s the expectation we get to change in our heads. I choose to think, “The 40 years he lived were good and he experienced a lot” It’s tough when you keep hearing from people he died too young. It’s never long enough when you lose someone. I heard that there are only 2 ingredients for a complete life: Life and Death. It’s only our beliefs that change this to include money, marriage, school, children, health, etc. This looks like a cultural thing we get to try to change and maybe through our own adventures in this grief world.
I have decided to consider the thought- Why NOT me? It sure has brought on a lot of experience and grieving which has grown to be compassion. For that I am grateful.
Yes, those are lemons. Should we make lemonade?