Wishing things were different……

July 18, 2016

Wishing things were different……

Wishing Things Were Different

As I squeeze my eyes shut tight, wishing, and imagining life is different -it takes me back to a place and time where I can hear those precious little footsteps making their way to my room. I see her, my beautiful girl, standing beside my bed in her flowing white nightgown. The sweet sound of, “Good morning Mommy” rolls right off of her lips. I think to myself what a wonderful, beautiful place to be. Squeezing my eyes even tighter not wanting to open them to my reality. I want life to be the way it used to be.

I think to myself my current life is just a dream, a nightmare. When I open my eyes, it will be just as it was, or as I planned it should be. You know, back to the days when mental illness was a foreign concept in our home. I slowly open one eye and then the other. Oh, it is the same. It is not a dream. Same house, same prayer list, same mental health books on the nightstand. This life is my reality.

It is what it is!

Thinking back to when the mental illness first reared its head. At first, I refused to believe in mental illness. I would say, “Pull your bootstraps up and get moving.” Then I quickly switched to spinning my wheels searching for the best treatment and the best doctors. I pushed like a mad momma to force things back to the way they used to be.

Announcing with clarity and confidence, “We will resume life just like it was before mental illness came knocking at our door.”

Then reality set in; that life wasn’t going back to the way it was. Life was different now. Each person in our family had been changed by this illness.  So many changes and so many challenges. When I accepted our family’s mental illness, things began to get better.  I started to throw myself into learning about mental illness and skills to live a life worth living for both my loved one and for me.

It works well most of the time until that sadness hits. That overwhelming sadness down to the core, when I am bombarded by reminders of milestones not quite reached and dreams not achieved. Heartbroken for my daughter, sad for me. We had different plans for us.

Confused by it all; I have losses that the world can’t see. After all, nobody died. My loved one also has losses that I can’t comprehend. Yes, I am thankful beyond words she is alive. Yes, she and I have made the most of the difficult circumstances, and I am so proud of us.

Yes, I am living a life worth living, but the losses still need to be named and mourned.

When I began that process to truly grieve and put away my imagining, something amazing happened. I began to embrace the new beautiful person my loved one had become. I saw someone filled with incredible strength, courage, humor, love, and compassion. I too have changed and become closer to who God created me to be.

Of course, it is a process. When I receive those college graduation announcements or wedding invitations from my best friend’s children, I will most likely revisit the losses.

I will need to accept the loss, name it, grieve it, and do it all over again. 

Do you recognize your losses? Have you learned to appreciate the new person your loved one has become?

I hope you will join our community at Embracing the Unexpected – sign up today to receive posts straight to your inbox along with a small gift.



  1. Reply


    I know what you mean and I think we all try to push our feelings aside without properly grieving. Or we feel the occasional sadness over something that happened and don’t let ourselves stay there for a minute. Life is hard and sometimes allowing grief seems to be the hardest.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Yes, grief is a strange thing. I find it comes back to haunt me when I don’t take the time to grieve. Life is hard. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Maree

  2. Reply

    Brandi Raae

    Echoing this for myself on so many levels. In fact I said some of the very same things to someone this week – it is what it is and I wish things could be different. Sometimes I don’t like that I grow best during the difficult times. Blessings to you as you travel this road.

    Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brandi – I couldn’t agree with you more, I too grow during difficult times. I just had a conversation with God about that. Why I can’t grow during good times, I just don’t know. Maree

  3. Reply

    Donna Reidland

    Thanks for sharing and reminding us that whatever we’re going through is designed to bring us closer to our Heavenly Father. Praying for you my sweet friend!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Donna, Thank you for your sweet prayers. I too am sending prayers for you right now. Blessings, Maree

  4. Reply

    Karen Del Tatto

    Maree, Thank you for sharing this very poignant and transparent post. Your walk through pain has brought glory to God as you “count it all joy” and seek to see the good despite it all. Yet you allow yourself to grieve. You are demonstrating a beautiful balance all while honoring the Lord.

    Blessings to you.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Karen, Thank you for your beautiful words. You made my day! I do have to say not all days to I demonstrate balance. I am a work in progress. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings, Maree.

  5. Reply


    Maree- thank you for admitting how hard it is and what you are struggling with. Change is always happening and life turns out how we didn’t expect. However, in those times, God is present in some way, isn’t He?
    I’m so glad I’m your neighbor at #Salt&Light

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Julie – I am always glad when we end up being neighbors. Thank you for stopping by. So true life is never quite what we expected. Yes, God is present. Thank goodness because I don’t know what I would do without him. I have physically been alone in places I never dreamed of being but I never once felt alone. God is so good. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings, Maree

  6. Reply

    Debbie Kitterman

    Oh Maree, ((BIG HUGS)) Your strength and power in being vulnerable and transparent is inspiring. I think we might not all relate to the mental illness of someone close to us, but we can all relate to wishing things were different…. for some it might be addictions, or illnesses that change those we love and all we can do it love them the best we can… and as you said recognize the loss, name it, grieve it, and accept it all over again. Blessings to you and thank you for linking up with #TuneInThursday today.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Debbie, Your words are so encouraging each week. Thank you for taking the time to respond. My desire is to reach more than just people with a loved one with mental illness. We all will have struggles at some point in life and will need to embrace the unexpected. Maree

  7. Reply


    ((Maree)) Bless your vulnerability. Prayers for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your heart. ((xoxo))

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brenda – You are so sweet. I find if we do not share we end up doing life alone. Of course, it is a fine line between my story and someone else’s story. Maree

  8. Reply

    Meghan E. Weyerbacher

    Your faith to move forward is powerful to me. We have recently discovered something like this in our family too and yes, it is hard. Some days it feels like we know how to cope and be and others require us to face people about it and be out in the world where I’d rather just not deal. God is helping us day by day and He is you too. Prayers! Each soul matters to Him.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Meghan – You are so right – It is hard. I am so glad you have God to help see you through each and every day. One key thing I found was connecting with people that get it. Please know you can email me at maree.dee@www.embracingtheunexpected.com anytime and talk privately and confidentially. This is hard stuff to do alone. I won’t claim to have answers but I would love support you in anyway I can. Maree

  9. Reply


    Ah, Mother’s Day and also my birthday. I have struggled in the past with how to feel happiness on days such as this when my heart is so broken. I feel, most times, that I don’t deserve to feel loved because I have failed my loved one. What you said is something I hope to write on my heart so that I can live it! Live the moment and thank God for the little miracles along the way. Thank you for your words of encouragement!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I hope you can find the miracles of the day. I know for me some days are easier than others. Many a holiday I have just been glad they are over. I know for me lowering my expectation of myself and others can also help tremendously.

  10. Reply


    Wonderful article! Your honest words about the feeling of loss and grieving for what might have been struck a chord with me. Thank you for creating this blog where our community can come together to learn from and support each other.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I totally agree we need community! My hope is we can form a community of people that can support and learn from each other. I know I need others on this journey. Thank you for being a part of this community.

  11. Reply


    Beautifully written, and with so much understanding and compassion for both your loved one and yourself.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you, my sweet friend. I could not do this without you.

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