This is a post that I have contemplated writing for a while now. Mostly due to the sensitivity of the subject within my own family, but all of what I am about to speak into plays a large part in the person I've become. It has impacted the struggles I have faced, my health and has molded me into the woman I am. The overarching topic that I hope this helps address is boundaries and why they are important to have in place. How, without them, it is hard to fully live, be present and enjoy life!
To fully understand let me take you back - to 2010 to be exact. It was the summer before my senior year of college. I was the happiest I had been in a while! I had finally made great friendships in California, where I moved to while attending college. I had joined a sorority that introduced me to some wonderful women. I also had become a member at a local CrossFit gym. It gave me a community I had been longing for since leaving my hometown in Colorado. As always, I had loving and supportive parents that I was extremely close to and two brothers that I always was able to share life with. As my father's affection for Harley Davidson grew, and my mother was surprisingly willing to jump on a bike with him, they began to expand the distances in which they traveled. That summer they made the decision to take a trip from Colorado to California. Their plan was to take Route 66 on their Harley to visit my oldest brother and myself - both of whom lived in California at the time. While driving through Taos, New Mexico late one summers night, my parents came up over a hill. I can't imagine the shock they must have felt to find an elk on the other side. In an instant so many lives changed. At no more than 105 pounds the impact left my mother with injuries so severe that she did not survive transportation. While my father was the first to have come into contact with the impact, he survived, but not without suffering brain damage.
Those first 72 hours I will never forget. From the moment I learned something was wrong to learning of my mothers death to immediately booking a flight home. After not sleeping for 48 hours and crying on an airplane with no concern at who was staring, I finally made way to my family in Colorado. With my Aunt, Uncle and brother in tow we made the drive out from Colorado to New Mexico to see my father. I'll never forget seeing him there practically lifeless with a trach tube supporting his breath. My once perfect world quickly became an absolute disaster. Over the next 6 months my world changed drastically. I took time off of school to move home to help care for my father. At twenty one, my daily routine became waking up and heading straight to the hospital. There I would spend the day watching over my father as doctors and nurses tried to rehabilitate him. Together, with his therapists help, my father relearned how to walk, talk and even think. Looking back those days all run together with select moments shining through. After months and months of repeating this routine, he was finally released to return home, but was required to still attend outpatient therapy. In order to fast forward through a very messy time, let me just say my father was never the same after the accident. He thankfully was eventually able to function fairly normal, but mentally a large piece of the father I knew was no longer there. He quickly became remarried and started a new life in Texas severing ties to the life he once had.
Over the past nine years, I have learned to place boundaries in a relationship that was one of the most important ones I had. For my own health and wellbeing, I know I cannot have expectations when it comes to that relationship. Like a newborn with a grip on their mothers hair, I learned to release the control I used to crave. I have learned to accept it all for what it is. I have grieved what was lost, but grown to value my new reality. Now this resolution was not immediate by any means. It took many years of anger and grief. Several more years of denial and depression. Then after six years, realizing I wasn't going to get there on my own, I hired a therapist. It truly took meeting my husband to have a desire to do the deeper work. I had found someone outside of myself I wanted to dive into the mess for. After years of therapy, I can finally say that relationship, or lack of it, does not define me. It does not determine my happiness or who I am as a person. There are still days where sadness creeps in and a flood of what was lost overcomes me. Usually accompanied by a desire to fix what is left, but then I am quickly jolted back into reality - remembering the destruction such an attempt creates. This is why my boundaries exist. They are what keep the rejection and tears away.
During this past year in Longmont isolation, and now in a deepened COVID-19 quarantine, I have had time to evaluate the relationships in my life. I can feel the shift in the focus of restoring and renewing the hole that cancer created to becoming more connected to those around me. This year has allowed me to see those that are there for the long haul. Friendships that I am blessed to have and need to make sure to show appreciation for. Maybe you're like me and have seen the strength of your relationships play out through this pandemic. Or maybe you've had an unhealthy relationship with someone for years and years. My hope is we can all cherish the relationships that love and support us and do any work to rid ourselves of the unhealthy ones. Whether that is setting up boundaries or letting go of them all together. Take this time to read books and follow accounts that speak into boundaries and why they are healthy. Maybe even find a counselor to work with. Many are offering virtual sessions and I know you have the time! At the end of the day, please take care of you and let there be good that comes from this isolation! Let's focus on what, and who, we do have in our lives rather than what is missing! In a time, where negativity is so easy to find, I challenge you to focus on the good!