I remember it like it was yesterday……
It was four days after my twelfth birthday and I woke up from a normal nights sleep to find my grandmother, aunt, and uncle in my kitchen. Since it was really early in the morning I decided to go to the bathroom and head back to my room. I was still in a sleep induced fog and couldn’t quite comprehend why my family was in my house so early in the morning. As I was laying in bed my mom, grandma and aunt came into my room, and from the look on their faces, I knew. I was only twelve but I knew something God awful was wrong. I immediately asked “where’s dad?” and their lack of response was the answer I was looking for. It was then explained to me that my dad had been in an accident and didn’t make it. I really didn’t know how to respond, at twelve I had a really limited experience with death and I truly couldn’t believe that the day before my dad was here and today he was gone forever. How does your life change in an absolute instant? Everything you have ever known is just gone, disappeared, never to return.
In the coming days my family helped my mom put the few pieces of our lives back together, helped her create a new normal. My mom became my rock, my best friend, my only parent and we depended solely on each other for survival. I’m not sure either of us could have survived such an detrimental loss to our family unit without each other. However, even with each others support, our life changed, shifted-because it had to. The life we had created was no longer possible, we were unwillingly forced to change course and adjust in an unrealistic timeframe.
Now that I’m 30 (almost 31) and have my own husband and daughter I’m realizing how much this life shift changed who I was/am/could have been. Any time I can’t get ahold of my husband my mind automatically races to the worst possible scenario and I brace myself for the loss about to happen. Each time I kiss him goodbye for a business trip I try to memorize his face and the way his lips taste on mine, just in case this is the last kiss I get from my husband. Planning a vacation with my husband should be thrilling and exciting but to me it’s terrifying and gut wrenching because the thought of us not returning to our daughter is heart breaking.
I’ve come to realize that the day to day things most people do without a second thought are a little more challenging than I would like them to be. I don’t enjoy being a “worst case scenario person” but I can’t help it, it’s an automatic reaction. I don’t enjoy seeing life through a half-empty glass but I just can’t see it any other way.
We’ve all heard it a dozen times, knowledge is power. Knowing my predisposition to negativity and the worst case scenario I have been working for years to ‘rewire’ my brain. Learning to let go of control (that I really don’t even have in the first place) and live the life that is given to me in this moment is all I can do. I can only take back the powerless feeling I get at times by truly soaking up every bit of life given to me each day I wake up. No one is promised tomorrow, and I know that all too well. Though the thought of losing another person so intimately close to me is unbearable to think about, I cannot allow that to rule my life and keep me prisoner kept from the precious days I do get to spend with them, right here, and right now.