New Normal

January 5, 2011 by Scott 

New Normal


In an earlier writing I mentioned we are living a “new normal”.  A counselor mentioned this term during one of our grief sessions.  It is a vague yet dynamic term that could mean so many different things to different families.  This was difficult for us to initially define.  We asked all kinds of questions; what would it look like?  How soon would it set in?  Would I embrace or fight it?  All good questions to ask then, but it took some time uncover the answers.   


Upon leaving the counselor, I remember talking with my wife about this term.  Neither one of us could grasp it at that time.  I think we may even have said something sarcastic like, “Gee, that was a good use of our time.”  Over two years have passed since we lost Katelyn.  I really didn’t know how I would change, I just knew I would.  Today, I have new normal pretty well defined.  My attitude, emotions and compassion toward others are the areas of my life that were most noticeably changed. 


So many things just don’t register like they once did.  I still focus on only the areas of my life that I can control, but I tend to ignore most of that.  Many things just don’t seem too be that important, and there is certainly no need to get all fired up about anything.  Once I start to analyze the situation and break things down, I can justify why it is something I need not concern myself.  I look at all sides objectively and seldom introduce any emotion into decision making.  My easy-going personality is now in over-drive. I am beyond easy going!


I seldom get excited about things.  If someone says something like, “hey try to control your enthusiasm”, I will respond that I am not the excitable type and I don’t get excited.  I then mention that we lost Katelyn.  I’ll draw their attention to our Cradled in Heaven wrist band that I wear everyday in her memory.  The real truth here is their perception doesn’t even matter to me.  I was excited about our pregnancy.  I then quickly learned all plans can change.  Losing her took that emotion out of me.  I was excited about an event that didn’t happen and it hurts.


Next, I find my heart more tender to those folks truly in need.  I will volunteer my time when appropriate.  God has provided me so much and I want to give back and help others.  I help family and friends without hesitation.  Not everyone I know understands that, but it now makes up a big part of who I am.  I used to be much more selfish.  Now I think I rank 4th on my own list of what is important to me.  I am also involved with a national mentoring program and currently looking into volunteer opportunities at our church.   


Finally, I am truly blessed to be the father of the cutest little boy on the planet.  As we go through the process of getting him ready for bed, I’ll hold him in front of the mirror and brush his hair.  I make sure we say good night to Katelyn.  We want our son to know he has an older sister.  I’ll say, lets give her a big huge and kiss, and tell her we love her.  I want him to look up and see her photograph.  Once he does look, I kiss him twice, one kiss is for her and the other is for him.  I’ll then say my own good night to her. 


Maybe you’re still struggling to define your new normal.  I encourage you to seek out other fathers who have suffered a loss.  Talk to them.  I only wish I would have taken that advice and talked to other fathers about their new normal as I was trying to define mine.  Maybe you went through a similar change as described above.  My hope is you continue to talk about your child with their mother.  It is important to the mother.  My wife and I still talk about Katelyn whenever we can.  For me, what few memories I have of her being active in the womb and holding her on the day she was delivered are moments still very important to me.  I am happy to have spent that time with her.  All I can do now is keep her in my prayers and ask God to remind her that she is loved. 


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