Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My new Normal

Today my Mom left, and it made me sad...

I had such a great time with her here in Pensacola. Originally, the plan was for her to fly out to Tempe and spend time with me during my big Ironman debut.

Clearly, it came to a crashing halt. :)

In the aftermath of the accident, my Dad and then Nathaniel were able to make it out to California. Elizabeth was wonderful, and remained by my side until Dad was in town - and then had to return to normalcy in Chicago.

Eventually, I was cleared to return home, and slowly the pieces of my life fell back into place. Dad left California the Sunday after the accident, and Nathaniel and I flew out the Friday after that.

After spending a few days in Pensacola with just Nathaniel and Tabbitha, Mom arrived. I was so grateful for her to be here: it was extremeley difficult to go through what I went through without her by my side (initially). And I knew it must have been excrutiating for her to be stuck in Minnesota, while her daughter lay in a hospital bed.

But it was a HAPPY day last Wednesday when she arrived in Pensacola. The final piece was put in place, and for 6 great days, my Mom and I got to hang out and spend a lot of quality time together. I didn't have to worry about workouts or other obligations, she didn't have to worry about work or her obligations - it was just time for us to spend together.

And I think it was really important for her to see with her own eyes that I was doing okay. MOre than okay...

In fact, all things considered - I'm doing pretty darn good.

I'm giving my Physical Therapists a run for their money (within reason!), am walking up a storm at the track, and have even managed a swim (don't worry - no peeing in the pool yet!).

It's one thing to reassure friends and family over the phone that you're doing much better, but it's completely different when they see you for themselves.

And while Mom wasn't too thrilled with my tatoo idea, she sort of gulped, and agreed that I should commemorate my accident and scar in some sort of way. In her words, "You have an awfully big scar - it would take a really big tatoo to commemorate it... perhaps you might go for something a little smaller...?"

And I grinned inspite of myself.

(Who wouldn't?)

After I dropped her off today, I sulked around the apartment. It just wasn't the same. Even though she had just left, I missed her already. It was great - all the time we got to talk, hang out, play spider solitair, joke with The House Monster, while Mom was crocheting and I was reading - all times that I'll never forget.

And the hard part, is that we only get to see each other a few times a year. Yes, we're a short plane trip away - but Sunday dinners, once the norm with our family when Karyna and I were growing up and Grandma and Grandpa would head over - are no more. And though I talk to my parents every few days, I still miss them terribly.

That's the tough part about growing up, moving away, and marrying someone with a job that takes you to far away places.

But that's also the wonderful part: I realize and know how wonderful my parents and sister are. I love them so much, and even though I don't get to see them all that often, the times that we do share are that much more special.

This bike crash put a lot of things into perspective for me, the number one being to never ever EVER take anything for granted. Family and relationships are so important. And I feel lucky to have the family that I do.

Now that Mom is back in Minnesota, things are somewhat back to normal. I talked to Jen earlier tonight - and we talked a bit about my mood, my routine.

I was as honest as I could be.

In a way - this sucks. I want to get going, I want to get moving, I want to recover and return to as "normal" that I can be.

Bit I have to wait - I have to be patient.

My NEW normal is a life filled with physical therapy 3 times per week, water walking, power walking, and hand cranking a bike. Kind of mixed up if you ask me - I'm walking in the water, I'm pedaling with my hands, and walking backwards on the treadmill. My new "triathlon" if you ask me.

But as I talked to Jen, I realized that there really is no such thing as "normal". There is no right formula, no "magic" solution. Everyone is different, and every individual responds in their own unique way.

And I'm okay with that.

Besides, I've never been "normal" and have always walked to the beat of my own drum. This time, it'll just be in the pool with a water aerobics belt. But the point being - I'm back in the pool, and life is good.

Mom - I had a great time... thanks for everything. I love you! Love, Maritka.


Train-This said...

The beauty of your life Marit is that you CAN walk to the beat of your own drum.

There will be highs and lows thorughout this recovery. No one expects you to endure recovery with a smile every single day.

Including you. Allow the rises and the falls to happen.

Your greatest days are not behind you. They are in front of you. When you cross that line in 2009, you will slowly realize why this all happened.


Pedergraham said...

Mary said it so well! I think it is great that you are being so honest with yourself and Jen about your moods and desires and wants. Awareness is the key, right?

By the way, after I broke my elbow my freshman year of college and some not-so-bright doctor put it in a cast and pretty much put a permanent bend in it, I went through 6 months of PT, with only kicking in the pool and "riding" that darn UBE thing with my hands (no swimming)--and I ended up swimming a great 1650 at Conference, my only meet of the year. So, I hope riding with your hands does great things for your swimming too!

I was thinking about you yesterday, listening to NPR. They interviewed the 70-year-old man whose job is it to play all the Stradivaria (sp?) "living" in Stradivarius' hometown museum to keep them in shape. I was hoping that manybe you had your radio on too--what a perfect job for retirement!


Beth said...

Hey Marit! Glad you had such a great time with your mom. I know how that feels when they leave...my parents live far away and I only see them about twice a year too. But regardless, hope you have a great day today - PT, walking in the pool and pedaling with your hands! I know like it seems an eternity away until you are training and racing but it will be here before you know it...

Mel said...

TEARS in my eyes as I miss my family and with you and your Mom having a wonderful time..I choked and miss my Mom :( I am glad you had a wonderful/bonding time!!

You are going to come back so STRONG Marit...you are so lucky that you can walk in the pool and pedal a bike with your hands,Do power walks on the track!!!Your a very LUCKY girl with that special positive drive!! Hang in there...EVERYDAY IS ONE MORE DAY CLOSER!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, with all my complaining I do about living in Chicago - and after this winter, rightfully so...but, it is MY family - my brother/sister and their families and my parents that keep me grounded here in the Midwest - and that is why we look at "vacation places"...so I always know where my roots lie.
SO glad you had a nice time w/ your mom! Jen H.

Kellye Mills said...

I'm so glad that you had such a wonderful visit with your mom! Just think, your circumstances led to that! Keep up the great work with Physical Therapy! You'll just be that much stronger in the end!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you had a wonderful time with your Mom. She's seems like a really cool person. Heck, she reads and comments on blogs!!

I bet she is just as anxious to watch you at Ironman as you are to race it!

Bob Mitera said...

Change is the only constant in life. Not sure who said it but it sounds good. Yeah...I miss some folks who aren't around but you need to keep that memory alive and decide to glow around the glory of those times. (Wow, I sound like Leo Buscalia.) I miss my grandparents terribly but I honor their memory by doing right, helping others and racing to the top of my ability (which we've only seen once by the way).

Tattoos are permenant so I'm not a tat guy - I'd change things daily if I could so I know if I got a tat I'd want to change it as soon as it was done. Me likie change. Ok...writing too much...bye.

Sarah said...

You said it best, Marit - getting used to a new normal.

In my old job I really had to help people understand that concept, and I think it's a beautiful one.

We live in a society where people have a hard time with change...they want so desperately to get back to life as it was (even if it wasn't ideal!).

But we aren't in control of everything that happens in our life and sometimes, things happen. They change our lives, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.

However, you made a choice that you would get everything you could out of this thing that happened. You decided to take something that was one of the more 'unfortunate' things that happens and turn it into something that will ultimately help you become stronger, more awakened, and even more focused in knowing what YOU want.

Not everybody makes that choice to accept their new normal. So I really applaud you and just think your attitude is so healthy and great! I think it must help to have such supportive family that you love so much.

Eventually, you'll heal and you'll have a new normal to adjust to again...swimming, biking and running...but stronger and LONGER...and you'll be running across that line in 2009! I think Mary's right...the best is yet to come. :)

Anonymous said...

And so yesterday, Maritka, the plane took off too soon. I sat in my seat, belted in to comply with aviation regulations, but my heart remained with you. I was so happy to see you in the flesh - along with your spectacular crack. OOWIE
I loved seeing you with your physical therapist, in the pool and at the track. I cheered while watching you take your baby steps, knowing that child steps will follow, then turn into teenage steps and end up as adult steps. But your recovery won't be complete untill you're taking


steps only you know how to take!
I was with you for a short time - and so, as always, I look forward to our next time together.
I love you.

Trigirlpink said...

Chin up Chicka Chicka! You are getting better day by day and soon you'll be beggin' Jen to stop the suffering! Ha!!
It's sooo sweet you have such a great relationship with your mom and you don't take it for granted.
Kisses to House Monster, Orca Kitty sends his love and feline healing thoughts!!!!!! :-)

Jen said...

Hey Marit...I'm glad that you had such a great visit with your mom! I found your blog through IronKate and have been reading about your crash and recovery. Be patient and you'll be back in the swing of things in no time! Happy (and fast) healing!

TriGirl Kate O said...

Chin up!
Sending hugs,

BreeWee said...

Marit! Soon you will have a HUGE group of your buddies in Florida with you... I heard you are making us all breakfast after St. Anthony's!!!
Keep your smile...but it is okay to miss everyone, it means you care :)

Marni said...

Congrats on getting back in the water!!! Really take time to appreciate all the small steps you are making in your recovery process cause when you are back feeling strong you will have so much to be thankful for! Keep up the great positive attitude.

Brooke Myers said...

It may seem so challenging right now and full of frustrations, but time will pass quickly and soon you will be looking back at this experience.
I still find myself thinking about my accident almost daily as my body is different becuase of it. I was somewhat in the same boat with therapy in the pool until I could walk, people touching me and poking me, making me do these things that seemed so simple compared to what we do in training and yet it was so difficult to accomplish some of the tasks called for recovery.
It will take time, but you are way too motivated and way too tough to give up.

Glad you had nice family time - that truly helps in the recovery phase...

see you soon!

Anonymous said...

You are a total Aquarian, marching to the beat of your own drum! (I always have liked that expression)

Danni said...

you have absoultely no idea how much I relate to you post! Mostly because I too am far away from my family. I pretty much left everything I knew to pursue my dream at a better life. And here I am, and even though I miss them to pieces and I wish they could see my daughter grow up with their own eyes; I would not change a single bit of my life.
I am glad you got to spend some quality time with your mom.
Keep up the good work and I am sure you will be back to your regular self in no time.