Kathy Sebright

Writer. Speaker. Believer. Runner. Truth Enthusiast.


Leave a comment

The Sign

Originally printed in the Penasee Globe – December 21, 2014

It was cold, dark, and snowing as the brisk wind cut through me. My headlamp illuminated the snow covered road beneath my feet as I ran. There were no tracks to follow. No one had been here anytime recently. There was only me. And I was making my own path.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the road. The road with the house with the sign, that is. Almost 2 years ago, I had been slowly plodding through some serious snow in this same exact place, when I saw the sign on their garage. In cutesy black script, it proclaimed “Life doesn’t get much better than this.” When I saw that sign 2 years ago, I was struck with an irrational and overwhelming urge to pull it down and attempt to break it in half beneath my feet like I would a brittle tree branch. Things were so very different then (although strangely the same). I took off for a long run one particularly bad morning and that’s when I saw the ridiculous sign that almost seemed to mock me.

A gust of wind brought me back to the present. As the snow swirled around me, I found my feet angling themselves to turn onto that road. It was a decision I didn’t consciously make myself. I looked at the sign as I got closer. It was unchanged by the previous 2 years. What a difference. It was my polar opposite. There wasn’t anything about me that remained the same. Everything about me had been touched in some way, shape, or form by what life had thrown at us. IMAG1916_1

I closed my eyes and the past 2 years flooded through my mind. Pools of blood from my son’s broken skull.  My son’s laughter from the next room as his big brother tickled him. Screaming mid run in fear and sheer desperation. Laughing until I cried in the ICU with my husband. My son unconscious and seizing on the floor in front of me. Clutching a friend’s hand so hard it must have hurt, trying to convey everything I couldn’t say. Crying on the floor of a hospital room that smelled faintly of floor cleaner. It was devastating and beautiful and painful and amazing all at once.

I’m not sure when exactly the change took place. It was gradual and it snuck up on me. One day I could clearly see what I couldn’t before: hope, gratitude, and life. I found myself smiling at the sign, seeing it now with different eyes. I turned and continued to run, unsure of my destination but sure of my ability to blaze my own path.

It’s so easy to focus on everything that went wrong. Even at Christmas we all can lose sight of what matters. The greatest gift I have ever known was finding hope, gratitude, and life despite our circumstances. I wish everyone the ability to see things with different eyes and the persistence to make their own path.


Leave a comment

The courage to stop pretending

Originally posted at http://www.mops.org/blog/courage-to-stop-pretending

I could tell you stories of pregnancy and loss, and of holding a tiny lifeless baby in the palm of my hand. I could tell you about the leap of faith it took to try again and the heartbreak of losing yet again. I could tell you about months of bedrest with another baby not expected to live. I could tell you about the first time I called 911 while I watched that baby, my 1 year old son Emmett, unconscious and seizing in his crib. I could tell you about putting on a brave face for my 3 year old son Travis, trying to figure out how best to explain it without terrifying him. I could even tell you about the treadmill run in the hospital for Emmett’s first surgery, while I ran for exactly 7 hours and 26 minutes waiting and praying he was going to be ok. But none of those are quite it.

I think the most courageous thing I have ever done was stop pretending. I was a great pretender. I could smile even though I wanted to fall onto the floor and cry. I could laugh even though I felt hollow and empty inside. I could cite my strong faith while raging against a God that would allow Emmett to suffer so greatly. I could sit calmly in public when just hours before I had been screaming and breaking things up against the wall. The pain emptied my very heart and soul and hung me out to dry. The fear of the future, of the unknown, and of what would happen to Emmett ignited me with a fire so fierce, it threatened to burn me to the ground. The old me was gone, swallowed whole by this wide-eyed insomniac clutching a medical binder as thick as phonebook and pretending to be ok. My old world was gone, replaced by a new one with sterile white walls and words I couldn’t pronounce. This was the life that I pretended to live for much too long. There was no big pivotal moment that spurred me into action. One day I just woke up and said Enough. It has to get better. For me. For them. For all of us. I can’t pretend any more. I sought counseling. I learned to manage my fear and anxiety and let go of what I couldn’t control. I learned it was ok to not be ok and that I didn’t have to pretend for anyone. I learned to stay in the present and eliminate what if questions. Most importantly, I learned to live again, even happily in spite of our circumstances, and that took the most courage of all.