I was sitting here watching the latest Netflix original series, Grace and Frankie, and it really impacted me. The show stars Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda (reunited and it feels so good!), Sam Waterson and Martin Sheen. Jane Fonda (“Grace”) and Lily Tomlin (“Frankie”) star as two women whose lives are suddenly turned upside down when their husbands reveal they are gay and leave them for each other. Both sparring partners and partners-in-crime, Grace and Frankie form an unlikely bond to face an uncertain future together and discover a new definition of “family,” with laughter, tears and plenty of mood enhancers along the way. Talk about coping with the unexpected!
As I was sitting here with the credits rolling, I could not stop thinking about how I would react if I were Grace or Frankie. Or for that matter, either of their husbands. From the POV of the men, why want to be happy and they know in doing so will hurt two people they love most in the world. When you think of how Grace and Frankie feel, their worlds have just imploded and I bet it looks like the hurt, betrayal and confusion will never go away. As you continue to watch, you will see Grace and Frankie are coping with the unexpected in their own ways.
I know it is not the same thing as finding your mate is gay, but when my husband and I went through a pretty tough situation and found ourselves coping with the unexpected. We received the diagnosis about our son’s autism and we were devastated. It felt like a ton of bricks were pressing down on top of us and we could not see any light to save our lives. We were scared, mad, confused, terrified, and just about any other emotion you would like to insert there. We knew our lives were going to change and at the time, we could not see one iota of positivity in that diagnosis. So, if something unimaginable happens to you, how do you handle it? Has anything even remotely close to this ever happened to you? How did you handle coping with the unexpected?
Of course it is normal to feel angry, sad or shocked at first. It is super important to let yourself feel those feelings. It is also normal to worry about what the future holds. That is all we could think about for weeks after we heard about Henry and his autism. We held fast to the statement, “Knowledge is power” and that got us through when we didn’t think we could go another step. But we also had stretches of time when we felt empowered and felt we were going to learn all we could about autism and kick it’s butt! Being optimistic is one of those things that you may need to “fake it until you make it,” you know? In essence, we were an emotional roller coaster! But that is ok! Ride that sucker until you feel you can ride it with your hands in the air like you just don’t care! We decided we were coping with the unexpected diagnosis of autism with humor instead of fear.
I think the big thing when coping with the unexpected is you need to handle whatever life throws at you with grace. There will be days when you need to dig deep and get up and face the day, even when you don’t want to. I cannot count how many smiles I put on my face that were not exactly heartfelt. We avoided words like “horrible,” “never,” or “always.” Find something to be grateful for, and think of it in terms of “At least…” We did that a LOT in the beginning and it helped so much. Henry is high functioning and needed minimal outside assistance. For that we were so grateful. Try to maintain a sense of control when you feel as if your life is in an upheaval, keep a routine as much as possible. Another biggie was to remember we were not alone. We spent a lot of time with family and friends; surrounding our family with people we loved and people who loved us.
Netflix is super easy to stream and it is affordable for virtually every budget. You can stream Netflix through your TV, tablet, smartphone, gaming system or computer for less then $10 a month! You can watch your favorite shows while you are in the carpool lane, at the doctors office or while relaxing at home. Be sure to follow Netflix on Facebook and Twitter.
How do you handle coping with the unexpected?