We ‘ve had a series of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. My wife and I are both in the midst of major transitions at work, resulting in working after hours and several emotionally draining days. In the midst of a safety risk review meeting, which is an endless review of disease, diagnoses, and death in a roll-call fashion, I received the update that my mother-in-law was transitioned to hospice service.

“How are you doing?” It’s the question I continue to ask Sharlene as she navigates decision after decision related to her mother’s end of life care. We’ve had late night conversations about the guilt of wanting the uncertainty and ongoing demands to end. Knowing the end, is the loss of her mother. It’s been a series of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.

I am convinced that our children are picking up on the fatigue, anger and sadness related to the stress in our lives. As I prepare to leave the company I’ve worked for seven and a half years, I have experienced a roller coaster of emotions. I’m happy to move forward professionally, but feeling the loss of people I have come to care for. I’m obligated to give four weeks, but I would prefer to rip of the band aid. Four weeks is a really long time!!


As I shuffled through our bedtime routine the other night, I grabbed the book, Alexander and the terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. As we read through a series of childish, mundane complaints about this really tough day, I connected with the freedom to complain. My daughter and I indulged in a dramatic reading that evening, laughing as we said goodnight.

The next morning Sage woke up and caught a case of the poor me’s. When I said, “Good Morning!” She responded with, “It’s not a good morning, it’s a bad morning!” Ugh…and so the morning went. It was an endless stream of bad, bad, and more bad. Perhaps it was a matter of poor sleep, getting over a stomach bug, or our daughters response to the stress in our lives at the moment. In any case, I left as she was correcting the note Sharlene left that morning. Everything good was changed to bad.


In many ways this paper and that morning gave me permission to acknowledge that life is rather difficult right now. Its even impacted our kids. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can change. We are simply holding on and managing a series of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days!