It was close to midnight and I couldn’t see the stars. The overwhelming glow of the city muddied the sky. I stared upward anyway, searching for any sign of light.
My heavy feet plodded along the path, almost tripping over themselves as I passed the eerily empty park. Pushing onward, I made my way to our accommodation in the temporary housing nearby.
Tears streamed down my face unlike ever before. Barely could I see what was in front of me as they flowed. The pressure had finally released a river of shock and pain, spilling out of me without resistance and taking my breath away.
The uncomfortable feeling of water dripping down my neck and soaking my collar couldn’t distract me from this despair.
Earlier that day we had received the news our daughter, 20 months old at the time, was not waking up from her induced coma as expected – or rather, as hoped.
She had no control over her body’s movement, and possibly would never have control again. She may not even remember who we were…
The damage from her brain infection and consequential surgery had been unknown until that point, and it was now, seemingly, clear the damage was extensive.
My mind, for all its catastrophising tendencies in the past, had not entertained any ideas other than our daughter making a full recovery. Naively I’d imagined returning home, fairly soon, easing back into normality and curiously watching her shaved hair grow back as if nothing major happened.
The “reality” was setting in. We were not going home anytime soon.
I started to grieve an imagined life we’d no longer have.
Like a violent wave, crushing me, almost tearing me apart, the catastrophising began.
Invented scenarios spiralled within my mind. What would our daughter’s life be like? What would our life be like?
Every imagined tomorrow was laced with dread and sorrow.
I was drowning in my mind.
Reeling from the series of heartbreaking, hypothetical futures and ignorant ideas, I haphazardly thought something.
This thought was like an insignificant snippet from a madwoman’s stream of consciousness.
It said something along the lines of “We are that family with the tragic story people talk about…”
And in response to that unhelpful thought, I heard an unmistakable phrase that vibrated in my core.
“That is not our story.”
It sounded like my voice. The voice was loud, clear and reverberating, though I was not the source of this phrase. It came from something else or somewhere else.
Stunned, I only had a moment to acknowledge what was said.
Then, an invisible waterfall of wisdom washed over me.
At that moment I knew in every fibre of my being that everything was indeed going to be okay.
There was nothing to fear.
Without a shred of doubt, I knew I could write our own story. I knew I could create our future.
Helplessness evaporated in an instant and the painful tales I was telling myself just moments before were long gone.
There was only room for safety.
This was my fork in the road, so to speak. One way leads to hopelessness and another toward hopefulness.
The latter was unavoidable with the current of Love flooding my heart.
Cool air kissed my wet cheeks as I became aware of myself standing in the middle of the unlit park. I heard the city around me humming with chatter, beeps and vrooms. I blinked away the lingering droplets hanging in the corners of my eyes and noticed the pathway in front of me.
It was like waking from a dream and realising how silly it was that I thought hopelessness was even an option.
How could I have chosen any other path forward?
Taking one steady step, I began walking again and soon found myself opening the front door of the housing. I headed up to our room, double stepping with light feet, thinking about the deep rest I would need that night to get started tomorrow.
To get started healing our daughter and writing our own story.
And that, we did.
I am forever grateful I had help to reorient myself that night. I was generously gifted a notion and an unequivocal feeling of hope. I could have just as easily been swept away by my own insanity.
Where did this help come from?
Was it a Part of me?
Was it my Intuition?
My Higher Self?
All the above?
I have my beliefs regarding this. I’ll leave you to decide who you believe spoke to me…
Who or what helped me is not the important part of this message. The important part is we all have a choice to make in every moment that creates the next moment of our reality.
To choose to be optimistic, open to all opportunities, willing to grow, accept responsibility, have faith and take action. Or to choose pessimism, victimhood, stagnation, untruths, futility and inertia.
The beautiful thing is, you don’t need a special voice to tell you what’s true.
You can feel all the emotions course through your body and still choose to take a step forward.
Life can throw you the biggest, most awful curveballs and you can choose to see opportunity.
If you get out of your head and into your heart, you already know anything is possible.
Do you choose to trust?
To rise up?
To go all in?
To defy the odds?
To find a way?
To pursue possibility?
To write your own story?
I know the choices I’m making and continue to make every single day.
I have agency over our future and I’m committed to writing an extraordinary script.
What about you?