plant on table

New Normal

“Throughout our lives we walk our own paths, crossing others, and walking along with them.”

Ten years ago, three months after our daughter Amanda died, Bob’s cousin and wife lost their son Eric. I was driving home from Melbourne when Bob called me. He was devastated. Hard to believe that a cousin he grew up with was now starting this journey with us. Although our friendship with Gary and Peggy was always “good” we would now be connected in a way we had never anticipated nor wanted.

That coming summer we flew to California to get together with family. Seeing Gary and Peggy was on the top of our list. It was so difficult to see them and know how broken they were. The four of us realized very quickly that we were now close without even having to speak. “The Club you never want to join …”

Over the years since Mandy and Eric died I have learned so very much. Everyone who calls TCF or walks through our doors is feeling the very same way I, we, did— devastated, numb, overwhelmed, broken. They feel like they are alone, and like nobody understands. I know. I felt exactly the same. I honestly felt like I was never going to be myself again. Maybe I never “was myself “ again, but what I became was a more understanding and empathetic self. I wasn’t always wrapped up in my own issues. I now became far more interested in others and their issues.

Throughout our lives we walk our own paths, crossing others, and walking along with them. Although Gary and Peggy are family we are now part of a larger family… one that understands who we are, and why we are who we are. There is no judgment from our new family—they get us, they get the new us !

Our dear member, Paul Miller, used to say this was our “new normal.“ The first time I heard him say that I realized that I had found a place where I belonged, TCF my new family, my new home. I can sit in a meeting knowing no matter what feelings I express I will not be judged. My “new normal” may make others want to avoid me, but not the members of the Club nobody wanted to join. They welcome me and love me, just like together we welcome new people.

No matter how desolate you may feel when you come to a meeting, just know you are welcome, loved, and cared for always.