On Adulting

Dr. Gillian Sawyer

Adulting is hard sometimes. Nothing brings up more of that realization than sitting in raw situations like waiting for loved ones to come out on the other side of surgery.

This story while I was in it was hardAF to sit through, let alone write about. At the same time it’s cathartic, distracting, and also reminds me of how far I’ve come.  

I’m not sure how birth order plays into all of this but I’m the youngest of my siblings. I’ve been a caregiver, by nature, my entire life. When my mom was sick, it was natural to take care of her. My dad and I tag teamed her care. She had everything she needed and a “team” behind her, always. We tried to give her a fraction of the grace and love she gave all of us through her life.

Having one parent left, makes waiting for my Dad to come out of surgery really difficult. I sat in that painfully familiar café at the hospital fighting tears and running through the worst-case scenarios, picturing the surgeon coming out with a defeated look on the same, very confident face he had had six hours ago, uttering something along the lines of, “I’m sorry, we did everything we could.” I wondered what life would be like with no parents. These thoughts let my mind run into my kids getting sick, my husband being in an accident . . . There’s something that changes in your soul when you’ve lost a loved one. An emptiness, a heaviness, a feeling of “well if it happened once, surely it can again.” I’ve spent the last five years trying to shake this feeling. It’s an ongoing battle for me.

As I sat alone with my thoughts in the very same building I spent hours and hours sitting in when my mom was in and out of the hospital, I felt the heaviness of all that comes with adulting. Thinking back to the times when life felt easier. When we first came back here six months ago for my dad’s surgical consult, it took my breath away. I don’t love that I know this hospital like the back of my hand, but it is what it is. As you can imagine, a lot of pain, fear, grief has bubbled up. This moment and the past five years have been undeniably a state of survival mode . . . and somehow you just get through what you need to. Such is Adulting.

This brings me to my first thought. We are strongAF. As women, as moms, as humans. There is a ton of resolve deep down inside of us that just waits for the perfect time to come to the surface, right when you need it the most. The lump in my throat constantly reminds me that I’m human, I’m strong, and that I’m still alive. Is it uncomfortable, yes. Is it scary? Yes. But here I am doing it, and currently surviving it!

If you are reading this and currently faced with some pretty heavy shit, just know that you are strong and that you can get through more than you think you can. There’s a whole heap of resilience inside of you just waiting to be needed (cue self pep talk).

The next thought is that there are really nice people in the world. The nurses here, the doctors, my friends that will literally drop everything. The number of “I’m here” messages I’ve gotten from these special people in my life is just a testament to this. Just remember when the world seems dark . . . there are still a ton of really great people out there. And if YOU ever need someone, I’M HERE . . . just an email away. I mean that.

The last thought I have is life is precious and short. We get these reminders all the time. Go into grateful mode and then get hung up in life again. Let this be a gentle nudge for you to snuggle your kids a minute longer, back down from a fight or tell someone you love them.

A bit heavy, yes for sure. But this is life. And part of the reason I am here in this life is to share my story. I know this.

A side note here, a “light” if you will. I’m looking out the window of the café towards the main entrance of the hospital. THAT exact entrance is where I rolled up almost four years ago at 4:20am, at the end of January. With no pants on, in my Ugg boots, draped with my husband’s oversized flannel coat, trying to keep my daughter from crowning as I perched on a wheel chair rushing up to labour and delivery. She was born less than 10 minutes later a few floors up. In fact I can see the window of the room from here.

Finding peace, and light in the midst of darkness is part of adulting. I’m hoping that you see some light in the midst of whatever you are up against in your life. Your resilience and strength is just waiting to shine.

THAT entrance was also where we met my dad at 9:00am on a Monday on July. We flicked the hazard lights on, got my then two and a half year old daughter out of the car, gave her a kiss and said,  “Mommy’s going to have your baby sister, have fun with grandpa”. She came shortly after in that exact same room, just a few floors up. And by noon that same day my family of four was all together, back at home, in our living room and my life felt complete.

Love & Light,

Dr. Gillian

Dr. Gillian Sawyer

Chiropractor for Moms & Babes




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