This morning I was frantically running around trying to get everyone ready to head to their places, battling a cold myself, and questioning how on earth I would have the energy to attend my first ECFE class of the session. Eh. I just wasn’t feeling it. In fact, I was feeling nothing but frustration for my first born with all of his quirks, nothing but annoyance for my second born who is as stubborn as her momma, nothing but HOLY TERRIBLE TWOS for my youngest, and nothing but anger for my traveling husband who was at work in NYC while I struggled here in the midwest. It was quite the morning.

In a fleeting moment, as I didn’t recognize a single way to get my firstborn to stop crying long enough to board his school bus, I pulled out my phone to send an email letting the instructor know I wouldn’t make it to day one. “Dear Teacher-I’ve-Never-Meant: Sorry that I won’t be there for the first day of class. I’ll spare you the details of my morning, but will sum it up with THIS HAS BEEN THE WORST DAY EVER….” This has been the worst day ever. Worst day? Ever? In that moment, time stood still. I called myself a drama queen, laughed at how silly these moments were in comparison to other moments I’ve survived. Seriously? Worst day EVER?? Puh-LEEEEEEASE.


My mind shot back in time to the middle of the night meeting in a cramped conference room at the University of Iowa Hospital’s ICU Unit. My heart went to the moment that a scared med student explained (painstakenly so, one organ at a time) how my mother would not recover from this sudden illness that was yet to even be diagnosed. I sat in that conference room, surrounded by family, and heard the words without digesting their meaning. This is the worst day ever.

Seconds later, I was hovering over my mom’s cold body. My hands touched hers, but she didn’t squeeze back. The machine breathed for her, while I longingly prayed for her to take a breath on her own. I heard the prayers, I saw the tears, I was aware of every small token of movement in those final moments. My world was crashing around me. My mom wasn’t coming home. This is the worst day ever.

Kissing a headstone

Just as quickly as these first memories came to me, I was transformed to Thanksgiving Day, 2008. I was newly expecting with our first, and planned on revealing the gender to family that day. I was excited for the holiday, blessed with my great news, and felt unstoppable despite the morning sickness. An early morning phone call from an aunt to tell me that my beloved grandpa Normy had a heart attack in the middle of the night took the air from my lungs. This is the worst day ever.

The week after returning from my Jamacian honeymoon, I sat in a hospital bed with my mom. The rock of my world had been diagnosed with cancer for the third time in 17 years. But this isn’t fair, I said. Cancer sucks, I said. How can this be?? I said. She was the strongest person I knew, but in this moment, she wasn’t herself. She lost her fight. She said she didn’t have the energy to do what she knew was coming her way. How can she say that? Doesn’t she know she has to fight?? Doesn’t she know I need her to fight? This is the worst day ever.

As an 18 year old, I stood with classmates to say goodbye to a dear friend. Hours before, we were enjoying life as college freshman. Not a worry in the world, not an obstacle in sight. Now, I watched in agony as my graduating class came in droves to the hospital. I watched my friend’s family in quiet anguish. I said goodbye. I watched those I love say goodbye. To my 18 year old friend. That was surreal. This is the worst day ever.

Then, I was 6 again. It was a snow day, which means school had been cancelled at the last minute due to driving conditions. Kids everywhere in my district went outside to build snowmen and dusted off their sleds for screams and laughter on hills. One of my friends was killed in a sledding accident that day. In the weeks that followed, I attended my first funeral. I watched my teacher cry. I felt sadness for my mom as she tried to explain life to me, as that was my first taste of tragedy. This is the worst day ever.

So. Back to this morning. After I finished my sad walk down memory lane, I chuckled at my pitiful excuse of “worst day ever,” dusted myself off, and headed back to the battlefield of life. Back to fit-throwing {but healthy} kids. Back to my embarrassingly dirty {but properly sheltered} house. Back to my coughs and sniffles {but thankfully, MINOR on the spectrum of health scares} day.

Perspective is a powerful thing.

For more on grief, read Surviving the Loss of My Mother and Dear Sunday Morning. To read about our challenge on behalf of Team Do It For Diana, please visit our Facebook page or website.

Photo Credit: Mojitos and Munchkins