There are moments which mark your life, when you realize nothing will ever be the same. Death divides time into two parts, before and after.
Today, it has been 14 years since one of those such moments. Mom, not a day goes by that you don’t cross my mind. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded just how fragile life is. Even though I miss you with every fiber of my being, I live my best life to honor you. With every day God blesses me with, I will be happy. Maybe not all day, but every day, I choose happy.
The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained. No matter how hard I try, this day is never easy. Letting you go was the hardest thing we ever had to do and I haven’t been the same since. Over time, we continue to heal and build a life around the void created those fourteen years ago. You taught me what a precious privilege it is to be alive and it is that lesson that has given me strength to choose happy, not because I always am, but because I still have the opportunity to be.
I’ll never know why you had to leave so soon, but dwelling on the why doesn’t bring you back. So, until the day we meet again, I’ll just be thankful for the time I had you here.
There are reasons for all of us to use as excuses as why we shouldn’t be cheerful, but instead of letting the experiences we encounter in our life to control us, we have to learn to use them as lessons.
It is our job to find the lessons, the part we can take away from the experience and use it to help us grow and become stronger. I know that sounds naïve, too simple. After all, what good is there to look for when you come face to face with the experience of death, life’s most anguishing, detrimental heartbreak happening of them all?
As Max Lucado illustrates, “death amputates a limb of your life.”[i] It does. There is nothing like death to shake your beliefs to the core and make you want to give up all hope in the world and in yourself. When you experience the death of a loved one, you feel like a piece has been ripped from your soul and you will never be the same. You’re right, you will never be the same, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a weaker person because of it. You can emerge from grief a with more resilience than ever before.
There is nothing that will ever take the place of our loved one, but we can learn from the death and grow from it. Every death is a reminder of how we must embrace life. Some will say there is nothing good about death, but I believe it is not about death being a good thing, but rather, finding meaning in the lessons we learn from death.
[i]Lucado, M. (2006). Facing your giants. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.