Back to reality. The place where you are left with three choices. One being to focus on the past and all it has stolen from you. Two, to focus on the future and all it has yet to steal from you. Or three. To reflect on what the past has given you – the good, the bad, the ugly – and how it all molded you into the person you are today. And through that deciding to live a grateful life. A life where you accept the bad, appreciate the good, and live for those that can’t.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that choosing to be grateful for what we’ve gone through has been easy – or that I’ve even mastered it. Because, truth be told, I am still working on it and I struggle daily. But, I do wholeheartedly know that I can’t live my life in the past. I can’t stay in bed all day long and cry or binge watch a Netflix series to take my mind off of the pain. Despite the overwhelming urge to do so. I can’t stop living because that’s not fair to my family, or fair to the loved ones I’ve lost. Just as I know that if I die tomorrow I want my family to continue living and not just existing, I know that my angel babies want that for me too. So I wake up and live. And I appreciate my family more than I ever have.

Along with embracing a grateful heart (for the bad – I’ve got the good down pat); I’ve learned that there may be different degrees of grief and pain in loss. But, ultimately loss is loss – and for lack of better words – loss sucks. I’ve recently had many conversations with strangers, friends, co-workers, family and we’ve all agreed that losing a child has to be the worst kind of loss; but it doesn’t mean that the loss of a husband or brother or any loved one is any less of a loss. Our lives were changed when we lost our loved one. We won’t ever be the same and we all wonder what, not only we are missing, but the world is missing without our loved ones still around. Nevertheless, we each have three choices to make every day that we wake up without them and I believe the best is the one I’m choosing.

I won’t ever have the answers I want to have. But I do believe that my God is in control and without Him I’m certain that I wouldn’t be able to wake up each morning and live.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4