The Day After

The day after a crisis is as important as the day of the calamity.

Confronted by a medical emergency with my husband a couple of years ago, I found myself overwhelmed by fear and helplessness which subsequently impacted my ability to make necessary decisions. This confounded me as those feelings were completely out of the norm for my usual take-charge approach to solving problems. If it is not written in my carefully-organized planner, confusion abounds.

Self-doubt running rampant in my head had me afraid to make even the tiniest decision. Guilt for my self-perceived failure to find the wherewithal to handle things overwhelmed me. I knew at the time this was not helping matters, but my emotions were dramatically affecting my reasoning skills.

After ruminating ad nauseam on how to get myself under control, I was exhausted and decided sleep would provide me a fresher, rested attitude in order to make necessary plans and decisions the day after my husband’s surgery.

And it was those words “the day after” that proved an epiphany for me.

What, I wondered, was so wrong with being honest about my feelings? Who would not be frightened in a dire circumstance? How am I going to face challenges in the future if I cannot calm myself enough to find a healthy way to contribute to a resolution as opposed to waffling indecisively?

I gave myself permission to experience whatever feelings I had, good or bad, for one day only. Just get it all out of the way in order to regain my self-resilience, forgive myself my emotions, and re-find my sense of determination. My self-imposed timeline was one day only—the day of the misfortune.

My resultant discovery is that it is indeed the day after when I need to pull up my big-girl britches and handle things. This approach actually worked in handling my husband’s emergency and subsequent recovery post-surgery.

This life lesson has not been forgotten and proved to be of such value, I printed and framed a small sign for myself with the simple words “The Day After” as a future reminder which is still relevant today.

Year 2020 has been challenging in many ways, with the latest being Hurricane Sally. Despite following preparedness guidelines, my mind was as full of tumult as that created by the storm with its banshee winds and torrential rain. During the storm, I found myself back in that chaotic mindset of fear and doubt.

Then, I remembered my little framed reminder. The hours of the actual hurricane and resultant worries were spent doing that, worrying and wondering. In the end, we were safe and the world had not ended.

This morning, I woke up feeling strong and able as I set about the task of recovery. After all, today is…
…the day after.

June Scroggin
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