2017.  It was set to be the best year, my two daughters were pregnant with baby girls due a few months of each other.  I was off to a great start in my business, my kids were all doing so well. 

February: My daughter called in tears, she had taken a fall on the ice and was headed to the emergency room.  I arrived at the ER and sat with her for the 6 hours they require when you are pregnant and fall.  Baby was good, life was good. 

February 26, my new little granddaughter was born, 3 weeks early most likely due to the fall on the ice. She was perfect.  The kids were not expecting this and thankfully daddy was home from business to witness his little girl come into the world.   They took her home the next day and daddy flew off to business (because this was all so unplanned).  Then my daughter called because baby had to go to the hospital because she was jaundice, my poor daughter just had a baby, husband had to leave and now the docs are telling her to rush her little girl to the hospital. As a mom I felt helpless, all I could do was sit with her, I couldn’t make it better.  3 days later baby girl went home and has been thriving ever since. 

April 5, just like any other day running and doing appointments, until the call came…..my aunt (whom was more like a second mom as I was growing up)….took her own life. Someone pick up my heart off the ground, this can’t be happening. I can’t breathe…so I can’t imagine what my 3 cousins are going through or my stepdad.  I’m helpless, what do I do? What do I say?   All I could do was be there and let the comfort of our family get us through.  We cried, we laughed, we cried some more….I miss her every day.

May 16, it’s my other daughters turn to have her little girl. She is due this week and this is her first.  Last week she was at the doctor and everything looked amazing.  She started spotting in the morning of the 16th and went to the hospital.  They hooked her up to the machines and said let’s have a baby! So exciting!!!  Her husband left to go get her hospital bag. She called him crying and said please come back, they can’t find the heartbeat.  Panic sets in for the kids….emergency C-Section is necessary and mind you no family has been able to be called yet because of all the chaos.  

I got the call later that day that her sweet baby girl was born, braindead due to Meconium. She has been placed on life support.  This is my worst nightmare, these kids deserve this baby, and they had suffered a miscarriage the year prior.  They deserve to have a beautiful healthy baby.  But it’s time for them to make decision, they take her off life-support at 11pm and hold her in their arms until she takes her last breath around 2am on May 17th.  They had to make the decision quickly so her heart valves were viable for another baby. They didn’t even get to be mom and dad for long.  The hospital staff was amazing and made it the most memorable thing in a good way that they possibly could.   But does anything really help? Again, as a mom, I felt helpless.  I can’t take the pain away, I can’t fix this.  Why is this happening?  

June came and I was hoping by this point my year would start to be a little less stressful….no such luck. My great uncle died and granted he was older but he just got up and moved from a chair to the kitchen, fell and died.  What is happening to my world?!!?   Shortly thereafter we get the call that my stepdaughter tried to hurt herself, she is good now and been in treatment ever since but talk about feeling helpless and you can’t change it. You can’t fix this.  

Next:  The call comes…my son is in the Navy and battling depression, he has been getting help, well he was until he got his new station and records didn’t go with him, nobody believed him, no help was offered or received. He attempts suicide. He is finally taken seriously. How do you cope with this? This isn’t school where you can call your kid out sick. I’m not even allowed to go to him. I have to hear this from afar and deal with it. I can’t. I can’t do this.  He is released medically from the military and is finally able to talk about depression as a real disease and how to help others with this. 

And then it happens, the thing that almost caused my mental breakdown. My car breaks down 4 times in 3 weeks…..I have had it. I’m done.  I can’t deal with this year. I have to be happy for one daughter sad for another, help kids with depression and take on the role as a surrogate mom for my young cousin because she doesn’t have one.  

Then it hits me.  Life happens.  It’s not always pretty.  Everything is a lesson. What can I learn from each of those things that can help others in life? And so I go and buy a new car. Yep, that’s the first step I did. I needed something in my life that felt good to me and for me. So I went and the first car I test-drove I bought. And it worked. I love my new car! And I decided at that moment that I love life and I will not be going anywhere for a long time so I will take this year, or what’s left of it, and turn it into the most amazing year for my family, friends and myself.  

Moral of the story: Self Care is so important because if you can’t take care of yourself you are no good to anyone else when you need to be.  Also, women are bad-asses at dealing with so much stuff!

Tara Michielli
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