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.
“The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life”-William Morris
I have no idea if the two are related, however, since starting Whole30 I’ve realized that I’ve been appreciating the little things more than I usually do.
Finally getting the kid sized shopping cart for Charlotte (they are always being used when we go)
The way her hair gets super curly after swim lessons
How beautiful food can be
Picking out her first leotard for gymnastics!
This beautiful site on the way home from the gym. But really, sunrises and sunsets are so amazing to me, I’m super grateful for the beauty they bring.
The amount of love this girl has for the dentist, it’s a little weird haha! We even did x-rays with no issue at all.
Having a neighbor friend for Charlotte. Yes-we are that close that they can talk to each other like this.
(sorry for the grainy picture) the bond these two share is truly magical
Growing up with cousins who also happen to be your best friends!
Doing experiments with cousins and aunties (homemade bubble gum-it actually turned out!)
As I’ve been trying to practice more mindfulness and gratitude I’m really starting to see the beauty in the normal day to day life and activities, plus it makes life more fun!
Tell me some beautiful things in your normal day to day lives?
Having someone close to you who is nearing death is an odd experience. I had lunch with this person today and I watched her closely, the things she looked at, her smile, the way she smelled and looked, how she spoke to me. I tried to put myself in her shoes, having lived a full and long life knowing the end is coming sooner rather than later. Does she feel satisfied in how she lived her life? Does she have regrets? Is she scared or ready? I don’t know the answers to those questions but I want to have firm answers for myself in my own life. I lost my dad at the ripe young age of 12 and it was so unexpected I had no time to prepare or reflect. Now that I’m adult and have the ability to look at the bigger picture of life I have been really trying to dive deeper into its meaning and purpose.
A few weeks ago the church I attend spoke about the top regrets people who are dying have. I thought I would touch on those today and maybe we all can reflect a bit and make some changes if necessary.
- I wish I would have had the courage to live more true to myself-This one really hit hard for me. How many times do we try to fit a certain “mold” in our lives? We try to be more girlie and refined for a boy we like, we try to be more outspoken and hard for a friend you want to impress. When do we have the courage to live who we truly are and let the bricks fall as they may? I am working on being faithful to my authentic self in all that I do, this is a work in progress.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard-Ouch right?! I can hear everyone now, “but we need to pay our bills”, “I’ll have time to travel and experience life later”, “I need to focus on my career while I’m young”. I’ve said a few of those statements myself, however, how much are those statements based on fear? I believe life should be a healthy balance of work and the things we really enjoy. We should work to live not live to work and that is something I’ve been better at since having Charlotte.
- I wish I would have stayed in touch with my friends-In the past week how much have you been in contact with your close friends? I would say I have been slacking in this department. The excuses that come to mind: I’m too busy at the moment to call them, I’ll text them later, they are probably busy, I’m not feeling very social-throw those excuses out the window! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached out to a friend that was on my heart and they tell me how timely the phone call or text was. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to connect with a friend when they need you but don’t know how to reach out. The woman I spoke about above just spent the whole weekend with a friend of 50 years (FIFTY!) and they had so much fun together. They stayed up late talking, had indulgent meals, laughed, and supported each other-what a blessing! Let’s make time for the people who matter in our lives so we don’t have this regret as we get older.
- I wish I had let myself be happier-THIS my friend is so important. I have noticed more and more how unhappy people are becoming, why is this? I think one thing is people are afraid to step out on a limb and change, the familiar is so comfortable but could also be what’s making people unhappy. Happiness is truly a choice, our lives are filled with choices each day, choose what makes you happy! Reflect on #1, find who your true person is and make choices that would fulfill that life you want. We get ONE life, there are no do overs, lets choose to be happy.
Life is beautiful, messy, joyful, terrifying, heartbreaking, and an adventurous journey we only get to take once. Let us pack our bags with the things that will equip us with the most fulfilling, satisfying journey with no regrets!