What is Normal Now?? ~ Vicki Windham
NORMAL is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize that Heather is missing from all events in your family's life
NORMAL is having the TV on the minute you walk in to the house to have noise because the silence is deafening
NORMAL is not sleeping well because a thousand "what if's" go through your head constantly
NORMAL is feeling like you can't sit through another minute of church without screaming because you don't want to be there, and yet at the same time feeling like you have more faith in God that you ever had before
NORMAL is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday common event and then gasping in horror at how awful it sounds, and yet realizing it is now part of your normal conversation
NORMAL is coming up with how to honor Heather's memory and birthday and how to survive those days
NORMAL is new friendships with another grieving mother and crying over our children and our "new" lives
NORMAL is being too tired to care if I paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry, or if there is any food in the house~let alone cook it
NORMAL is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for me to feel, so that everyone around me will think I are still "NORMAL"
Heather, Jenn and Wendy 1992
Heather, Jenn and Wendy 1992
I am reminded on a daily basis that "normal" is only a setting on the dryer. Something that we switch on to dry a load of clothes. Otherwise it does not apply to anyone's life. If your life is "normal" give it a few days, weeks, months or years and it will not be normal. I promise that one. I had a "normal" life. I live in a normal house on a normal street in a normal neighborhood in Mesa. I have normal furniture on normal carpet and tile in normal rooms in my normal house. I have normal family photos hanging on the walls and normal knick knacks scattered throughout my normal house. I have a normal dog, cat and 3 bunnies, although everyone else in my normal family would beg to differ with me that the pets are NOT normal. I had normal daughters wearing normal clothes and doing all the normal things that kids and teenage girls do. I have normal cars, although here again, a bright school bus yellow Xterra and a smokin' red hot Camaro are not really normal vehicles. I had normal meals, holidays and birthday celebrations at my normal house with my normal family. I had the normal kids sleepovers and friends hanging our at my normal house. I watch normal "girl" TV, except soap operas-a waste of time.... ha ha ha
I had a normal life till one day a small little normal blood cell, so tiny you have to see it with a microscope...decided it didn't like to be normal and it became abnormal. This tiny microscopic cell had a huge effect on all the normal cells around it. Soon all that was left was abnormal cells and these abnormal cells suddenly impacted Heather's normal body and it was invaded with Cancer. Very quickly my normal life was turned upside down. There is nothing, absolutely nothing normal about cancer or anything that goes with it. The treatments are not normal. Losing all your hair is not normal. The weird looks you get from people when they see your daughter go out with her bald head is not normal. My life was normal..or so I thought. A tiny cell decided to go abnormal and the first swollen lymph node showed up in October 2007. My so called normal life disappeared forever on April 10, 2008. The day we discovered what the abnormal cell was called. T-Cell Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoblastic Lymphoma and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Someone asked me once how long it took me to learn what Heather had. I told them I memorized it the first time it was said and I will never forget it.
Grandpa and Heather play Monopoly May 2005
Then when we all thought that life was normal again, something else abnormal had to come and shake my world at the very foundation it was built on. Not so normal things like immune compromised, pnuemocystis pneumonia and ARDS came into my normal life. I began to learn the normal terms of doctors and nurses. Normal people talking to me thought I had a medical degree. Normal people do not know about ICU, mechanical ventilation, blood gases, PEEPS, arterial lines, chest tubes, and many more things that are in my normal vocabulary now. My once so called normal life disappeared forever and I have to find my "new" normal life with all my same surroundings but without my Heather. Things can never be "normal" again...