Since the end of last month, my world has been in a state of flux. Those last few weeks of July, I was feeling impatient, edgy, and frustrated. I didn’t have a classroom, but had an idea about a job at the school that I’ve worked at for years. I was feeling the squeeze of the door shutting on the upcoming school year with the jobs filling, but I was still without a place to call home. As is the story of my life in more recent years, in the final hours…voila…a great job appeared. I interviewed and was offered the position.

Just one little hiccup…it was in a new place. I wasn’t ready for that. I had to over process the decision (as I always do) of leaving the people I love to have the job I really desire. I had to jump. It was so far from how I was expecting things to work out for the school year. It was such a great opportunity. For me, the over-processing, hates-to-make-a-decision girl, it was a huge leap.

I overcame the hiccup in my mind. I overcame the idea that everything was going to be different again. I took the job and love it. I forgot how much I love working with older students. Last year, I worked with students of all ages, all learning abilities, all in a state of flux because their teacher was going to be away from their classroom for a large amount of time. I was the fill-in for someone else’s hiccup. I stepped in while another person had something come up that was not in their plan. I loved the work, I loved the students, but I was always just a fill-in, not the real thing. Now, I get to be the real thing.


My boys are adjusting to the change too. I must say, they are remarkable. After a few tough moments in the first days of school, my little one is “settling in”…his words. Our first nights of school were heartbreaking. He was so sad that I wouldn’t be at the same school with him. Lots of hugs and cuddles during those first days seemed to help him, but my momma guilt was so high that I really didn’t know where to put all my thoughts of how selfish I was to be putting my own need in front of my children’s needs. I remained calm. I tried to remember that a happy momma, who can pay the bills, who feels fulfilled with her work, who can be home and present to her kids equals a happier home. I knew the change would be hard. Change is always hard. Change in my house…sometimes feels like the world is coming to an end…again.


This week, we begin week three of the changes and I have to say that it is going well. I really love the work, the boys are adjusting, and all the logistics of being in three different schools on time in the morning with the boys getting home safely have all been ironed out. The new routine has begun and we are all feeling ok about it.


During the week, a few things happened that threw me off balance. Pretty normal things, but when you’re me, my family, and in the midst of changing many things…my stress level sky rockets. These things are just the daily little hiccups that folks deal with all the time.

One hiccup that threw me this week was simple, ordinary, not eventful at all. Nonetheless, it becomes a big deal in my mind. It grows from a hiccup to “CRAP! What am I going to do if this gets thrown into the mix?” It’s just my car acting up. That’s all. In my head though, it is a monumental amount of stress. For many folks, there is another grown up in the house and another car…well, there are some easy options. I never really stressed out about this kind of stuff before I was widowed. We just worked it out. Now, in my altered state, I have to rely on people outside the doors of my home. I have to call on those people around me who also have their own lives to take care of everyday. It’s really hard for me to do. I always feel like I’m imposing. I always feel like I’m becoming a burden to them…a nuisance. I hate burdening others with my stuff, but some days, if I don’t let the hiccups out…I will implode.

So, I’m learning to let it out. Even over eight years after Dave died, I am still learning how to do this. When I think about it, I don’t know how he dealt with all my crazy, all the worry I could build up in my mind, all my internal and external over processing. That poor guy! It’s funny, but all the things I used to rely on one person for back then, is now spread out over my village of people. Certain people pull me out of certain things. As hard as it is for me, I make the calls. I hate to interrupt their lives. I hate, hate, hate feeling like a burden. I think it’s that over responsible, oldest child in me. As much as I hate it, I do it. Being widowed has taught me many things. One of the greatest lessons I have learned though…let people love and help me. Let people in and amazing things can happen. My car concerns turned into an evening spent with my brothers and dear friend hanging out…pretty great for something that was killing me only hours before. My shuffling of children to get us all where we need to be each day, has turned into my boys being graced by the presence of some other wonderful people in their lives…and some new self-reliance.

Many of my hiccups along the way have turned into unexpected friendships, moments of gratitude and revelation for me. Although I still struggle and freak out a bit at first when the hiccup erupts, I know with certainty most things are survivable. I know that many of those things that throw me off balance are really just hiccups…and with the courage to reach out to the people who love me (and even a kind stranger sometimes) they will remain just that…a hiccup.

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Christine Thiele

Christine Thiele is a free lance writer, middle school teacher, and a former professional and volunteer youth minister. She has written for The Journal of Student Ministries, YouthWorker Journal, Grief Digest,, is a contributing author in several Open to Hope books and The Widow's Handbook (to be released in 2014 by Kent State University Press). Along with her writing, Christine is raising her two lovely and energetic sons. Since her husband's death in 2005 from pancreas cancer, her writing has been focused on grief and healing issues.

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