Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

I know a lot of people hate the words “new normal.”

At one point in my life, I thought I may be one of them.

After my husband died by suicide, I had plenty of unkind thoughts toward the do-gooders who tried (even within weeks) to “normalize” our loss by commenting on how the kids were smiling again, or it was nice to see me having brunch with friends, or good to have me back in the school pick-up line.

The underlying trite message always seemed,  “glad to see that things are getting back to normal.”

My husband was dead. The father of my three living, breathing, and deeply grieving children had been alive one morning and comatose by the afternoon. We will never be OK, I wanted to scream. Our world exploded into a million pieces when he died. We’re still digging out from underneath the rubble. There is nothing about this that is normal.

RELATED: In Times Like These, It’s OK To Cry

It has been eight years since we buried my husband. I have since remarried—a widower actually, with four children of his own. Though our lives definitely lack the effortlessness of a 1970s family sitcom (not to mention the glaring absence of an ever-ready-to-help Alice), we do exist in some kind of beautiful existence of our own. At least we did. Until the pandemic.

The pandemic cued the sort of screeching halt to life in our house as I’m sure it did in yours. We have high-risk individuals living here. We had a graduating senior. We were in the middle of a new home purchase and move an hour away.

And you know what? I found myself looking forward to the days we can settle into a “new normal” again.

It is the “new” part that makes it OK. I will never get my first husband back. My children will always know their father is missing. Our old normal will never, in fact, exist again. But, our new normal was hard-won. Our new normal is precious in its own right.

It didn’t happen overnight like so many with rose-colored glasses willed it to. It took a conscious effort. It took courage. It took risk. It took work. But, once we achieved it, the “new normal” was oh so much better than the “new disaster” immediately following his death. The new normal came with new relationships, new dreams, new opportunities to help others through the hardest of their days. 

RELATED: God is Not Done and He is Good

As this pandemic shifts and rolls and cracks beneath the old rhythms of our entire world, I’m aware of the disaster it is creating—in the health of individuals, in our country’s economy, in systems and ways of life we’ve all only ever known as normal.

Yet, I also know the new normal is coming.

It will be hard-won. It will take time and effort and sacrifice and love. But, if my new normal is any indicator of things, it will be so worth it in the end. It won’t be a consolation prize for how things used to be. Rather, it will be its own new, living, organic and wonderfully made creation.

I won’t rush the world to get there. I won’t speak useless platitudes of positive thinking that insult the very real suffering of so many. But, I think I’ll easily recognize when the world begins to really smile again. I’ll know when she finds a new normal. It will totally be worth the effort and wait.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Leslie McCaddon Mendoza

Leslie McCaddon Mendoza is a Life Coach for Widows. You find her writing on Scary Mommy, Medium and Time Magazine. She is currently working on her first memoir and a novel based on her great-grandparents thrilling love story. She lives in California with her current husband, four teenagers, and two dogs. You can find out more about Leslie at her website WidowsLikeUs.Com Or by visiting her Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Group for widows.

Wear the Pretty Underwear

In: Faith, Grief, Living, Loss
Woman in evening gown, color photo

This week was monumental.  After 15 years, I finally finished a bottle of Victoria’s Secret perfume. I just wish I would have emptied it sooner.  It was one of those special occasion luxuries because it was not cheap. For years, I had saved this decadent perfume for date nights and holidays. It was too fancy for everyday use. And then, I was widowed without warning. My husband was here one minute, then gone the next. Impossible. Unfair. Traumatic. RELATED: What If Tonight Was Your Last Chance To Have Sex With Your Husband? But we were going to die in our...

Keep Reading

Loving Mom (Thanks, Amazon)

In: Grief, Living, Motherhood
Woman and mother smiling, color photo

I was online, searching old Amazon orders for a part we’d bought for our 1998 Buick Regal. The car was Mom’s. She’d given it up at 86 after I said her grandsons would be grateful to use it. She’d laughed with delight as Gabe, newly licensed, pulled away from her place in her Buick, heading home to California. It was a good car, but the original parts were wearing out. That’s why I scrolled through my orders, to see which window pulley assembly we’d purchased last time. As I scrolled, I was struck by all the gifts I’d ordered for...

Keep Reading

There’s a Little Less of You Here Each Day

In: Grief, Grown Children
Elderly man and younger woman's arms around his neck

I’m sitting here on the front porch, and I’m sobbing. I’m finally grieving. I’ve finally reached the place where my heart knows what my brain has known for years. I am now dreaming of the day we meet again in Heaven, Dad, and you look at me and I will see in your eyes that you know it’s me: your daughter. I won’t be “the woman who comes by every day to our house” as you described me to Mom the other day. And this sucks. This early onset Alzheimer’s has stolen a brilliant mind. It’s stolen my mother’s dear...

Keep Reading

Grief is a Wild Horse

In: Grief
Woman in water at sunset

I burst into tears the other day at the nail salon. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” came on over the speakers, and though it was muffled by people’s chatter, the line, “Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow,” cut through the scars of my heart like a hot knife. Tears poured out of me and into the pedicure basin. I don’t apologize anymore, though. It used to scare me that grief was non-linear. That it can creep up without warning and strike. I would rush to hide and chide myself to pull it together....

Keep Reading

Please Don’t Let My Baby Die

In: Cancer, Motherhood
Toddler boy lying in hospital bed, color photo

I wasn’t made for this.  I am not strong enough. Lord, where are you taking me? Why does this joyful time, filled with our last baby’s firsts, have to be this way? Why did the doctors look at me that way? They know what’s coming, and deep down inside, so do I. The inevitable word that is about to come out of their mouths.  The C-word.  Cancer. It’s life-changing.  Almost as if it were a car accident. Believe me, I know about that. To be the reason behind a grown man hanging onto a thread. Completely unintentional. I just needed...

Keep Reading

Hug My Babies In Heaven For Me, God

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman looking up at sunset sky

To my babies in Heaven,  I still miss you.  Sometimes I wonder if you can see us from Heaven. Do you get to watch us raise your siblings? Do you know us, like we long to know you? Are you proud to be our child? Does God ever pass on the messages I give to you in my prayers?  I hope so. I miss you. I miss you in the car rides when I look back and see two car seats where there should be more. I miss you when your siblings are laughing together, and I wish you were...

Keep Reading

I Should Have Taken More Photos of My Mom

In: Grief, Loss
Grandmother holding newborn, color photo

What’s the one thing I wish I did before my mom died? Take more photos. But no, I assumed I’d have more time. We always have more time, right? Until we don’t. My baby was born, and I was frazzled. Lost in a sea of having a third child and postpartum anxiety. My mom asked for photos. I was nursing, I hadn’t showered. I felt gross. I didn’t want to let my last baby go from my arms. I had time, right? Until you don’t. She asked for photos. And now. We only have one. We only have one.  I...

Keep Reading

I Carry the Baby I Lost In My Heart

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Early sonogram image of baby

I ignored it at first, the pink on the tissue. It wasn’t anything to worry about. I’d known for three weeks at this point that I was expecting baby number three, and I was still giddy about it. In fact, I had just shared my news with people at work and told them when I was due.  I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.  So, when I visited the bathroom, I ignored it.  Two healthy textbook pregnancies and births, why would this be any different?  But, looking back, there was a little nagging voice at the back of my...

Keep Reading

The First Christmas Without My Parents Cuts Deep

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with Christmas tree lit up in background

“This is going to be the first time we go through the holidays without mom.” How many times have I heard these words spoken by others? How am I just now understanding how full of meaning this statement really is? Nearly 60 years old, this will be my first Christmas as an orphan. My sister and I lost my father over 10 years ago, my mother just last summer. It will be up to us to create memories for the younger generation, and I have faith that we are up to the task.  It isn’t that my parents made a...

Keep Reading

Dear Grieving Heart, Be Still and Know

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Little girl with flowers standing next to casket, color photo

It is said that grief has stages. Five to be exact. Not sure where I am on that scale, but I can tell you I have reached acceptance and then floated right back down to denial, all in a matter of days. What I am beginning to realize is that grief isn’t linear. It goes through waves and has a rhythm all of its own. Anger and acceptance can (and do) co-exist. You can be happy and sad at the same moment. You can feel lost and confused, yet know exactly where you are or feel completely alone in a...

Keep Reading