Tomorrow is Megan’s first day of school since she became ill last summer, and she’s excited to get back to her friends. We’re excited for her, too, but also nervous. Nervous because a routine virus triggered her illness, and a routine virus could trigger a relapse. Nervous because the chemo altered her appearance; she won’t look exactly the same to her friends who haven’t seen her in six months. And we’re nervous about whether her stamina has recovered enough to last through even the shorter day of a reduced schedule. Although we’re nervous, there was no question that she should go back to school once the doctors cleared her. We can’t keep her in a protective bubble, tempting as that may be.

Returning to school is a significant step on the road back to normalcy. We’re finding, however, that returning to normal isn’t as straightforward as you might think. In five short months, we whiplashed into critical illness and hospital living, and just as suddenly, back into our normal lives. Except it’s not normal. We must look that way to outsiders, and much of daily life is. But it’s taking time to readjust, like the way your eyes adjust when suddenly coming into the light after a period of darkness. I’m convinced that only those who’ve been there can understand it. I’m not sure I fully understand it myself yet.

While I don’t usually put much stock in the symbolism of the new year, this year is different. I’m relieved to put 2014 behind us, along with all we lost. But I’m also grateful for what we gained from the experience, though we’d never have chosen it. Changed, stronger, we will take the good from this forward into our new normal, into our bright new start. Happy first day of school, sweetie…I’m so proud of you!

“Beginnings are always messy.” –John Galsworthy


About Kelly J. McCleary

Wife and mother of three, author, financial professional View all posts by Kelly J. McCleary

7 responses to “Beginnings

  • Lori Fligge

    Kelly, I’ve been following you and your family’s journey and have to tell you that when I read the post about Megan’s recovery in December, my heart positively soared. At the time, I was sitting at my mother’s bedside. She passed away peacefully that day at age 80. As I held her hand and bid her farewell until we meet again, I was full of joy at the wonderful blessing of Megan’s healing. As I read your post that day, I could feel God’s presence and said prayers of thanksgiving for you, for Megan, and for the life my mom lived. Thank you for sharing your faith with me. Your beautiful writings are a gift God has given you — thank you for sharing them, too.


  • girlblogger123

    This was an amazing story is megan your daughter?? Congratualations on the chemo clearing her from the terrible diesese
    Liv xoxo


  • Soul Pinions

    As parents, we worry. Even through days that are uncluttered in the absence of complications, we find ourselves worrying. Your family has gone through a significant life event which is bound to change your perspective on a lot of fronts. What it did is also give you a glimpse into the amazing strength and depth of heart that Megan possesses. From your posts, it’s easy to see that her positive attitude and resolve to recover never waivers. The love of her family and her mother’s own amazing inner strength were always there to lift her up. It’s perfectly natural to continue to worry but also to celebrate this milestone. You’ve all worked hard to get to this point and I’m confident that the love and energy of being surrounded by her friends and teachers will help to further envigorate Megan on her journey. Many blessings and good health to all of you!


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