How Death Changes Your Perspective

How Death Changes Your Perspective

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.


  1. lastchance3 says:

    I’m on this journey myself. My father passed 8 years ago, and a lot has changed for me. I’m not sure what my normal is anymore.

  2. Nancy Howell says:

    I remember that day as well Jennifer. I cannot begin to understand how your dads death changed your life, but I know it had to have. I wish I was more eloquent with my words, but I will try. I know that when our families met all those years ago the love you Dad had for you was clearly seen. I remember them driving you to Chipeta so you could obtain the best education. I remember your parents moving and then purchasing a home in our neighborhood so you could have the best. I remember us sitting in lawn chairs watching you kids love and live life! And we all smiled with warm and joyful hearts. You all marched along, the memory is so clear. It was a great place and time for us all. Such a tender period in all our lives.
    If it’s possible, and I like to think it is, I’m certain your dad is proud of you and the life you have chosen to live, the way you have bravely moved forward and still keeping him in your heart. You honor him by doing so. He’s a gentle breeze on your face, that familiar scent you can’t quite place and the strength you find when you think you aren’t able. He’s most definitely where ever you are. ❤️ Nancy Howell

    him by doing so.

    • The Happy Mama Life says:

      Wow Nancy! Thank you so much for saying this, it means a lot to me. That time of my life was a very special time and your family was a huge piece of that. I always remember feeling safe and the love you had for your family was made very prevalent, I understood that even as a kid. I appreciate all your kind words, very much!

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