𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬 𝘰𝘯 𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘵𝘰𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘴.𝘤𝘰𝘮, 𝘰𝘯 𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝟷𝟶 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝟹-𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘨𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘧 …
Irritability. Fighting tears and sorrow that can’t easily be explained. Exhausting hot flashes day and night. Weight gain. Water retention. Binging on all the wrong foods. Running out of steam and finding an afternoon nap is my current auto pilot. Feeling so empty, so lacking in any motivation or eagerness or energy or drive—for anything. The smallest things seem like mountains to achieve.
This season is hard—this transition to menopause. It feels like the worst kind of “pause” when more than just my body stops working the way it once did. It is more than unsettling. And it is so very lonely.
Some days, the hours tick by painfully slowly. I would love for my husband to burst through the door with fresh energy and resolve to fill in my gaps. But he’s just not in that place. Menopause is colliding with a very intense and difficult professional season for him. We are fighting our own battles and find it hard to be of much help to each other. It would be way too easy for both of us to sink into a melancholy stupor by the end of each day.
We struggle to hold each other up, so we settle for holding each other.
We search for each other in the dark of night and drift back to sleep holding hands. There are many moments of physical closeness with no words. Sometimes long sighs or trickling tears. Other times a brave smile. And every once in a while, one of us will share a moment from the day or week that helps us both break into full-belly laughter. Those moments feel good but they are so rare right now.
I force myself to walk to the mailbox every day. Fresh air always seems to help! Pulling my new Victoria magazine, British edition, from the pile, I half-smile to remember that we’ve day-dreamed about a trip to Ireland next summer to finally celebrate this notable year when both of us are turning 50 and reaching our 20th wedding anniversary, all lost in the sweep of this difficult season. I have a hard time even allowing myself to get excited about the possibility of such a trip which seems out of reach in this moment.
It’s hard to fight the fear that we’re stuck here. The fear that haunts that 50-something milestone—that the best days are already behind us—the productive, exciting, engaging, accomplishing, passionate days when we threw all of ourselves into our latest goal and didn’t look back. Now we look back and wonder if we ever got “there.”
We’re too young to not have goals but we suddenly feel like we haven’t a clue what they should be. All we know is that we don’t want to wake up another decade from now (thankful enough that the Lord has spared us and carried us to that point) feeling bewildered and lost and struggling worse than we are now.
. . .
This is just one woman’s private journal entry from the thick of a tumultuous season—something I wrote five years ago that had gotten buried in computer files. A mid-life pause that raised more questions than I was prepared to field at the time. Daily curveballs that seemed to keep coming from every direction without reprieve.
The five years since have brought even more transition. Selling the home where our kids grew up, living in limbo for 18 months, launching our young adult children into college life, moving hundreds of miles up the eastern coast, renovating a 1915 house, settling into a new town, and embracing a new local body of believers. Although the physical throes of menopause have subsided, new health challenges have arisen and many of those mid-life questions remain.
Change—it happens to us all. We rarely see it coming. Even when we think we know what to expect, we realize there is no way to fully prepare for each new wave of challenges, losses, or the gamut of physical, emotional, or spiritual responses to all of the above.
This mid-life season is often bombarded with a string of changes. What once felt like a happy, stable groove of life-as-we-know-it is suddenly and dramatically different. Each transition inevitably brings its own form of true grieving: the tell-tale signs of struggling to navigate what stretches us, or the deep ache of a gaping hole left by someone or something we held dear, mourning the loss of what once was or what could have been, and now it is gone.
How do we navigate mourning in the midst of mid-life’s upheaval? To whom do we turn to map out a path forward that rings true in our hearts? A faithful, gentle nudge reminds us: any emptiness we feel should draw our hearts to the Father.
What does He want us to do with this disoriented ache? What is His plan for this season? How will He grant us space to grieve what is lost, while also infusing hope and fresh vision for what is still ahead?
Our best choice is to bring it to Him and trust He will lead us one step at a time to the other side of this valley. He always has and He always will!
When the storms of life come, those who trust in the LORD have a lasting foundation. (Proverbs 10:25)
The LORD stood by me and strengthened me. (2 Timothy 4:17)
Hi Wendi, I needed to read this today. That’s us right now. Similar not exact.
My adult children are gone. Larry had surgery October 13,2021 removal of brain tumor, sometimes I feel like he’s regressing. We are 57 and have no idea what to do. Our place in Texas has still not sold. We began renovations in Chicago, had to because house literally falling down in hopes to save it.
STUCK! Larry is not back at work and I’m in tears most days.
Thank you for sharing.
Trusting God day by day❤️
Oh Melinda, I am so sorry to hear about your hard days. I will be praying for both of you!