My March Madness

My March Madness.jpg

March 24, our should I really say March 25 is the absolute WORST day of my life.  March 27 is the undeniably BEST day of my life. How can two days only 60 hours apart have such polar opposite effects on my life?  On March 24 my world STOPPPED & crumbled to the ground; March 27 was the START to my true happiness. “In one shining moment”…

Seven years ago, we were a family that always enjoyed a little March Madness & the games playing in the background during our biggest family events was just part of it.  Seven years ago, I celebrated live a Tiger Big 12 Tourney Championship with the Big Guy, only to watch his heart fall 5 days later to a big dance first round loss.  He loved his Tigers, but man, they were good at breaking his heart. Seven years ago, that up & down was our Corbin Madness—celebrate when you can to glide you through the bumps.  Seven years ago…  Seven years ago, it wasn’t so hard to breath.  Seven years ago, I wasn’t so scared.  Seven years ago, I had no idea what real pain was. Seven years ago, I had to shatter my little girls’ lives—I had to share the most unbearable pain with them. Seven years ago, my life STOPPED & the words “normal”, “safe”, & “comfortable” disappeared from our lives.

Fast forward seventeen years from now & I was scared out of my mind, but a fun scared.  I was so preoccupied that I could care less about filling out a NCAA bracket.  Seventeen years ago, I had more questions than I have ever had in my life & I had not one answer.  Seventeen years ago, I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep. Seventeen years ago, I couldn’t quit smiling. Seventeen years ago, I was so thin 😊. Seventeen year ago, I met the 2nd & 3rd loves of my life & the true Corbin Madness started.  I had no idea how I was going to take care of these precious bundles, but I knew I would figure it out. Seventeen years ago… Seventeen years ago, I had a solid teammate, even though he pretended like he wouldn’t help. Seventeen years ago, I fell in love with my husband even more.  Seventeen years ago, it “clicked” for me! Seventeen years ago, my new life STARTED & the words “exhausted”, “pure joy”, “excited”, “laughter”, & “heart-bursting love” were part of every single day. 

Seventeen years ago, I had the BEST day of my life & my “new” life was just getting started. A very short 10 years later, it all came to a screeching halt.  My fun, crazy Corbin Madness was replaced with a new “madness” that I hated & unfortunately, it was the new-all-wrong-Corbin Madness.  The Corbins were going into our biggest, longest, toughest battle without our strongest player, our anchor, our captain.  I felt like the drunk Shooter (Dennis Hopper) in the movie “Hoosiers” when all the boys are looking at him with big questioning eyes after Coach was ejected from the game--he is clutching a playbook so tightly in hopes the answers will come to him through osmosis. (Do you like how I can continue with my basketball championship analogy?  I told you we liked our sports.)  I was the same way—looking around everywhere for answers but not finding any. When I finally got Steve’s ring back, I would grip it so tightly my fingers hurt.  I knew if I rubbed it hard enough, he would show back up & help me. I couldn’t face the new Corbin Madness on my own.

It’s been 7 years since our new-all-wrong-Corbin Madness started & I have learned quite a few things… 

My march madness collage.jpg

·       I’ve learned that the 3 Steve Corbin girls are fighters & even though we make many mistakes & spend a lot of time on our butts; we ALWAYS get back up even if it’s on shaky legs.  We survived the dreaded sophomore year without Steve—driver’s licenses, new cars, broken cars, & Father/Daughter dance performance. 

·       I’ve learned that the love of family can save your life. 

·       I’ve learned that my girls are far from perfect, but they are pretty darn good human beings & their strength gives me strength.  They are my beginning, my middle, & my end & the reason I learned all these lessons over the last 7 years.

·       I’ve lost my best friend & my “person”, so I’ve learned that I can survive my greatest fear & I can find joy after my heart has been irreparably shattered. I’ve learned that when people are counting on you, you can find a way.

·       I learned that even if you’ve had a hard knock-out blow, there will always be other blows coming at you when you get back up. Life never gets any easier, you just learn to fight a better fight.

·       I’ve learned that some people just don’t like you & even though it hurts, it’s okay & doesn’t make you wrong or a bad person. 

·       I’ve learned that you don’t always get what you deserve, but you can’t quit giving kindness & your best.

·       I’ve learned that people will disappoint you, but there are 2 sides to every story & I’m sure I have disappointed many. Letting people down has never been my intention, but how I move forward from here is what matters.

·       I’ve learned that if life puts you on a path you don’t like that is scary & uncomfortable, you can learn to embrace that new journey & find beauty in your new scenery. 

·       I’ve learned that the horrible pain of grief is never ending, but it can make your love deeper & make your heart grow kinder. 

·       I’ve learned that you can laugh just as hard & soul healing through tears.

·       I’ve learned to not judge others.  I can image walking in their shoes, but our imagination makes things seem easier than they are. I remember imaging losing Steve (scary foreshadowing) & the reality is oh so much worse & different than I ever imagined.

·       I’ve learned in the power of hopeful, positive thoughts & learned to ask for God’s help.

·       I’ve learned that you can go to bed completely defeated but wake ready to slay.

·       I’ve learned to dance through life even though I don’t know how to dance. 

·       I’ve learned that social media can be great, but also make you feel horrible about yourself & the number of likes you get means very little.  I’ve learned (I hope) to post things (this) that makes others feel better about who they are, never worse.

·       I’ve learned to stand tall on my own & to sit by myself even though it’s uncomfortable.  

·       I’ve learned that everyone has messy lives & I’m not afraid to OWN & find joy in mine.

·       I’ve learned to own my mistakes, shake off the shame & embarrassment by trying to hide them & actually work on fixing them.

·       I’ve learned that being a single parent & trying to fill big strong shoes is the toughest job ever. I’ve learned that making parenting mistakes, not always being at events, & making unpopular family decisions that you want to avoid doesn’t make you a bad parent.  I’ve learned that being in the trenches during the dirty, nasty parts & encouraging your kids from behind isn’t always fun, but can also be rewarding.  I’ve learned that even if there is no glory or recognition for your parenting, that doesn’t mean you are failing.  I’ve learned that doing the best you can is good enough.

·       I’ve learned that feeling lonely & being uncomfortable will not kill me, in fact, it can give me an earned sense of accomplishment.

·       I’ve learned that no matter how hard you try, if you throw yourself out there, you run the risk of being misunderstood & criticized.

·       I’ve learned that you can try & work your hardest & it still might not work out, so you can never stop working your tail off.

·       I’ve learned you sometimes must let go even if every fiber in your being doesn’t want to (2 teenage drivers).  

·       I’ve learned I need to show the world who I really am, not who I think they want to see. You have to live a life that you are proud to live.

·       I learned that life has no re-dos, so actions are critical. 

Finally, I’ve learned that when I savor my BEST days, it helps with the terrible days—I’ve learned that the good can help you survive the bad.  I truly did think I was going to die 7 years ago-- I couldn’t catch my breath, the pain was unbearable, & I literally thought my heart was going to explode, but know what?  I didn’t die.  I’ve learned that no matter what, the good is always better than the bad if you are determined to make it so. I don’t think I would have learned any of the above lessons unless my world STOPPED 7 years ago. 

Don’t get me wrong, if I had a my rathers, I would have rather spent the last 7 years walking & living with Steve, but I’m so thankful for the 21 years that he lived & loved with me.  It wasn’t an easy journey, but it was our journey & looking back on it, it was preparing me for my biggest challenge yet—losing my best friend & the love of my life.  I have missed Steve every single day for the last 7 years & will miss him for my remaining days. Watching the girls grow without him is a bittersweet pain that I can’t begin to describe.  He is a deep part of me & he is always with me, because I carry him in my heart & he lives in our girls (& not just in the good ways 😉).

March is a very tough month for me & it pains me even more to know just how tough it is on the girls.  But this is our March Madness & even though there will always be holes in our hearts, we can still love, laugh, dance, & live life to the fullest.  He lives in us & that will always be a good thing.  I wish the bitter could be removed from our sweet times, but I maybe, just maybe, those times are sweeter because we know the taste of bitter?  I know I would have enjoyed & been proud of the girls’ accomplishments if Steve was still with us, but I can’t question that my pride & pure happiness is deeper knowing the journey they had to take to get there.  I would change their journey in heartbeat if I could, but since I can’t, I will make our March Madness work its magic.  “In one shining moment…”   Olive juice, Big Guy! As Alex said in her Snap story, “7 years is way too long”!!  Even though it’s been 7 years, I haven’t stopping missing or loving you for one of those 3,669,120 minutes.  I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.

Angie Corbin