April 1, 2014

... into life after hockey.

We have talked about it countless times and it has never been a comfortable conversation. Not for me. I feel a pit in my stomach; a desire to assume the fetal position and sing lalala while plugging my ears to avoid participating or hearing the other side. I feel uneasy and anxious and heavy.  

My reaction isn't out of fear. It's ... it's something else.

I have always carried this tiny bit of resentment with me everywhere we have gone. My husband. Hockey. His dream. He has given me more than I could have possibly asked but he also forced me to sacrifice and walk away from things I worked for, my dream.

I never imagined that over the years his dream would in some ways become my own.

I didn't expect to fall in love with life overseas. I didn't expect to fall in love with the game of hockey. I didn't expect to fall in love with being a stay at home mom. But I did.

When we talked about the end, it was always in the abstract. This chapter will end, a new one will start. Yada, yada, yada. It was all in the distant future, years down the road. It wasn't real.

Until this season.

He went into it confident it was his last. I went into it in the fetal position singing lalala while plugging my ears.

I stayed there until December, when reality backhanded me across the face.

A lot of craziness surrounded us at that time and we realized that if we were going to salvage what little sanity still remained, changes had to be made. He made his plans. I made mine; I had stumbled upon a job opening with my former employer. I wasn't sure I wanted or even needed the job, but I submitted my resume. Within days, our wheels were in motion and it was all coming together. We started to feel a sense of relief and maybe even a little excitement.

Unfortunately almost all of it came to a halt when my husband tore his MCL. Suddenly our days were consumed by physio appointments and trips to the hospital. We hardly had time to dwell in the disappointment of it all.

But it wasn't entirely lost on me.

I was headed for another round of uneasy and anxious and heavy ... because he was done. His plans fell apart, he was facing a long recovery, and he wouldn't be coming back. It meant the end of the season and more than likely, the end of his career in professional hockey.

It wasn't in the abstract anymore. It was real.

The chapter I was clinging to was coming to an end and it was time to start writing the next one, ready or not.

The job I wasn't sure I wanted now seemed almost necessary.

Fortunately, the opportunity was mine if I wanted it. 

As everything else seemed to fall apart, this one thing came together. Someone, somewhere was guiding us, albeit not so gently, into life after hockey.

We talked it over and agreed that I should accept the offer. I couldn't leave my husband to fend for himself for the remainder of the season, but we had to make this work. 

We decided that I would make a quick trip home to meet my new team and complete any necessary training, then they would wait for me to finish out the remainder of the season in Germany. 

In late-February, I said goodbye to my boys. I boarded a plane. And I cried my little eyes out.

(Travel Tip: If you want a row to yourself, be a blubbering mess during the boarding process. No one, I repeat, no one will want to sit by you.)

I spent the twelve hours it took to get from Frankfurt to Seattle and the better part of my nine hour layover trying to compose myself. I am not kidding. It took that long. I was that distraught.

I frequently joke about needing a break from the boys. Admittedly, there are times when I am not joking - sometimes I really do need a break. But I only ever need a couple of hours to myself to recharge. Then I miss them. I crave them. My whole heart is missing when I am not with them.

I have only left Linden for just two nights, and I was only an hour away. I have left Calder for one night, again just an hour away. And it nearly killed me.

This time, I left them for three weeks. And I was a world away. Legitimately.

I basically went to Mars.


Stop by tomorrow for more on our next chapter and my trip to Mars ...

17 comments:

  1. Wow! I can't wait to hear more! I hope all is well with you and your family.

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  2. I wish I could give you a giant hug right now. Life after hockey terrifies me and it's creeping up faster than I know it. I'm prepared but at the same time I'm not. I always tell Steve to play as long as he wants, play as long as he can because I am perfectly fine doing him knowin well be doing me for the rest of our lives after hockey. I can't wait to hear more about the next chapter :)

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  3. As reading this I see myself in the same place as my husband tore his meniscus and his season ended. Taking on his pain and hurt was a whole job in itself. Praying for you guys in this transition!

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  4. I am feeling for you and wish I could hug you, but I'm three states south of you if you're still in Washington. I had no idea all this was going on in your life. Sometimes when things go wrong, I tell myself "it could be worse" and realize it's true. Usually a few worse scenarios appear in my brain and I become a little thankful instead of bereft or upset. The injury could be a huge concussion. You might not have had the job offer. Your plane could be missing somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, God forbid.

    Hang in there.

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  5. Thanks Kate! Every now and then, I could use that hug!

    Things could most definitely be worse. Once the dust settled after he was hurt, we started to see things in a different light. We are going to be more than okay, with or without hockey, and we are actually excited for what is to come. We are in a good place. I hope you'll check back for more ...

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  6. Ugh, surgery? I hope not. Thankfully my husband didn't have to have surgery - just a verrrrrrry long rehabilitation process. I hope you guys are doing well. Things could always be worse but that doesn't mean what we're living isn't challenging ... or even crappy sometimes, right? I think we're allowed a small pity party here and there. Praying for you guys too! Thanks so much for reading, Brooke! xo

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  7. Hang in there. I look forward to the rest of your story.

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  8. Thanks so much! I'll do my best to get it out tonight ... ;)

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  9. Of course. I love your blog. I checked regularly even during your drought. :) Hey, FYI, I'm sending you a complimentary copy of my book. You might see a familiar "name" or two in the acknowledgements. ;)

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  10. He did have surgery! Oh totally I mean no matter the obstacle when it throws your plans off a bit pity parties are totally welcome ;)

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  11. Hi Nathalie! Thank you for stopping by. You're so right ... we had a rough few weeks but it feels like everything has come together, just the way it was supposed to. I am hoping to share more of that tonight or tomorrow, depending on how much 'alone' time I get! Haha! And of course, thank you for the kind words. xo

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  12. You ARE? I WILL? Does that name start with Hockey and end with Wife? Haha! I can't wait! Got your e-mail, I will write you back ASAP! Such exciting stuff ... I actually have a proposition for you, too! ;)

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  13. Oh no! What a bummer. Did he have the surgery over here or at home? I had a c-section last year - I think I was more stressed about the language barrier than I was the surgery! Is he still doing physio? Ugh, what a headache. Hope his recovery has been better than expected - I am sure next season will be much better!

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  14. *wiggles in her seat* I can't wait. Hurry up. The suspense is killing me. You don't want an author death on your conscience, do you? LOL

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  15. He had the surgery in Finland! Thank goodness the doctor knew a decent amount of English to explain it all before hand. He is still in rehab, but basically back to normal
    Besides being able to cut quickly! Thank you for your sweet words! Once again so nice sharing experiences with someone who gets it! XO

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  16. I am working on it! I'll let you know when it's out there, okay? And no ... definitely don't want an author death on my conscience. That's all I need right now! Haha!

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  17. Changes... I've been through my fair share lately too! Wishing you all the best in your new journey. Can't wait to hear the rest!

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