The Bounce Back

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

By Michelle Talsma Everson, 2021

So, this happened.

“The bounce back is going to be epic.”

This is what I told myself over and over.

Because, when your whole world shatters and time and space stop making sense, you need something to hold onto as you “sit in the suck” and hope better days are coming.

And better days do come.

But then so do bad days.

And medium days.

The “bounce back” isn’t as dramatic as you picture; it’s more quiet and sustainable, hard work and clinging to sanity.

It’s small victories and painful boundary setting with yourself.

It’s f-cking hard, not epic.

It looks like going to bed at a normal time, after reading no less than three devotional and one prayer app.

It’s praying. So. Much. Praying.

It’s talking about the same thing over and over again until you apologize to your friends and thank them for their continued patience.

It’s panic attacks at the idea of being social when you used to be an extrovert.

It’s a smaller, more sustainable friendship circle.

It’s breaking down multiple times because nothing, nothing goes as planned.

It’s a battle in your head.

It’s realizing the only person you can control is you.

It’s being mad and hurt by dead people. But also empathetic to those same dead people because you’re a messy human being and a parent.

It’s connecting with people you swear you’d never connect with only to make the picture more blurry.

It’s being happy to see a photo where your mom looks happy.

It’s being hurt by people who are still here, but realizing what is yours to carry and what isn’t.

It’s realizing you don’t have the bandwidth for all the things.

It is therapy and psychiatrist visits that are hundreds of dollars a month but you pay it because you need to. It’s being thankful you have the resources you need to address your mental health.

The “bounce back” looks like trying to see the silver lining — the amazing people you’ve connected with, the mystery you solved, the mystery you didn’t know existed. The conversations and knowledge and connections that would never have existed without this journey.

It’s mysteries that will never be solved.

It’s graciously handling it when people tell you to “look on the bright side” when they have never been through this experience.

It’s small steps like not procrastinating on work and household chores.

Switching meds.

Re-parenting myself because no one else is going to do it.

Facing things I haven’t faced in years because this one discovery touched on so, very much.

Just like the discovery touched on every part of my life, so does the healing.

All of this while shielding my son from the worst of it, emphasizing the best, but also letting him see that his mama can overcome and bounce back.

His mama is a cycle breaker. That pure grit is in his DNA and not measured by any test.

The bounce back is healing in its ugliest, messiest, most beautiful form.

The bounce back is epic in the quietest of ways.