Sprinting up the field while coaching my younger son’s soccer practice, I felt my calf muscle snap. Not a life-threatening injury. Even so, it knocked me down hard, and not only onto my living room couch where I was remanded on bed rest for weeks.

It made me needy, asking my husband and children for ice packs and cups of soup, with varying responses. It forced me to crawl to the bathroom and give up driving.

Perhaps worst of all, it pinned me to home while my family packed off to Costa Rica on a trip we had dreamed about for years — taking Spanish lessons, planning to hike, bike, surf and expose our kids to different cultures.

Having never spent a night in my house alone, I wondered how I would fare in a power outage or blizzard when I could not even pick up spilled pills from the floor.

I don’t cry much. But those first few days after they left, I was a soggy mess. I felt like I was living one of my kids’ favorite stories by Arnold Lobel: the one about a depressed owl who concocts a cathartic pot of tear tea by making himself think of sad things and then crying into a kettle.

My shredded soleus and gastrocnemius hurt like hell and made me cry. My bedsores made me cry. So did my anxiety about the blood clot in my leg that the doctors were monitoring. My regret over missing much-needed time with my husband. My confusion over which tests and specialists I needed. My fears that my days of being a carefree athlete were numbered. My quiet nights without bedtime stories.

I knew the cries of my children so well but was startled by the sound of my own loud, ragged sobs ringing hollowly in our empty house.

And I didn’t recognize myself.

Wasn’t I the intrepid one who managed to take my baby, a fragile child with multiple food allergies, on a cross-country trip to Laguna Beach to visit my sister and her baby? The unflappable one who barely flinched when the bus driver on the first leg of our journey accidentally abandoned us on a snowy night at a rest stop — at a time when I did not yet own a smartphone? The fierce one who carried my anguishing toddler on the three-hour journey to Boston Children’s Hospital after a table fell on his fingers, crushing three of them?

About a week into my 15 days of solitude, I began noticing another change in myself.

When friends dropped by with food — and no children in tow — a glow of laughter and connection lingered long after they left. I was surprised by how happy I felt for my friend when she told me about her dream visit to Bucharest.

I felt new empathy for my grandfather, who used a cane for his last 15 years. I smiled, realizing I was living my grandmother’s wisdom by not turning on the television during the daytime.

Thanks to Frank Bruni’s book The Beauty of Dusk, I reframed my thinking about my struggles from, “I can’t believe it’s a 40-step process to make coffee on crutches” to, “Wow, I can still make coffee on crutches.”

I experimented with new meditation techniques, practiced chair yoga and read in-depth articles in The New Yorker. I finally tried the new Indian take-out joint that no one else in the family had shown interest in. And I practically whooped when after weeks of bed rest, I could stump around with just one crutch and a walking boot.

In other words, I began to reconnect with myself — and understand that being alone is a skill I could learn.

By the time my husband and the boys came back, it felt like there was more space for all of us. And I felt more grounded on my own (nearly) two feet.

Moira Silva is a writer and writing instructor who lives in West Tisbury.