Things I Learned in 2018

Looking back on this year I see so much I’ve learned. It is good to know that we never stop being molded and perfected by God through the difficult times. I believe it is in the adversity that we are being refined and gain the most wisdom. I thought I’d share some of what I have cultivated this past year in the hopes it might help someone else.

  • Sometimes those crazy ideas are not so insane after all. Like when I suggested we Divas sell the house and move into 2 apartments in the same complex or building before mom got to where it would be too much or she died. We did just that, found a place with 2 apartments in the same building and moved…not a moment too soon! Mom died less than 24 hours after we moved into our apartment! This was a good thing as we could simply finish selling the house and move on without the added stress of relocating after she passed.
  • Even when you think you’ve purged everything you don’t need, 4 women can still fill a dumpster and not be close to finished with the material cleansing.
  • If you don’t feel like it is worth the effort of moving to a new home, pitch or donate it. You won’t have anywhere to put it in your new home either and you won’t miss it. Trust me, less IS more! If it has been in the closet for 6 months or more, and isn’t seasonal clothing (that still fits) or decorations, it is only going to take up space in another closet. You do NOT need it, let it go!
  • Trust your gut. If you feel in your core that you should/should not do something, then follow that feeling! Our instincts are there to protect us and we need to be more in tune to them.
  • No matter how prepared you think you are to say good-bye, you aren’t. You learn very fast that you really would sacrifice an arm or leg for just 5 more minutes with someone you dearly love before they leave this world.
  • Nothing and I mean nothing compares to the pain that touches us at the deepest levels of our souls when we look into the lifeless eyes of someone we love with every cell. Surreal, heart stopping, wanting to bargain with God and beg for them to blink and knowing that they are gone. With all the death I’ve seen in my job, nothing could have readied me for the lack of existence in the beautiful blue eyes of my mom.
  • The 5 stages of grief are not linear, you will bounce through them like a ping pong ball, sometimes over and over again. Eventually you do come to terms with the loss but it still hurts and always will.
  • Grief is very unique, no one grieves the same as you do so don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong.
  • Counseling is a huge help. When you are ready for it. Don’t try to keep going it alone, having that outsider to talk to can help you be sure you are grieving and not suffering from depression.
  • Life will go on while you struggle to do life without your loved one. It is okay not to participate for a while.
  • You will smile and laugh again, don’t feel guilty when you do. Those we loved would want us to be happy. And just because you are doesn’t mean you love them any less, it means you are moving forward and that is a very good thing!
  • The hurt never goes away. You don’t feel it 24×7 but things will bring it to the surface. Embrace the feelings then put them away. Missing them is fine just don’t stop living because they did. LIVE your life.
  • You will be okay, and then more than okay. And one day you realize you are back to normal. It is a new normal but it is now the norm and you have gotten through. Sometimes the grief will hit you out of no where again, but you are going to smile through those tears and keep going.

Some might go through a death of someone dear and think “2018 was the worst”. It wasn’t. It was tough at times, challenging, painful and confusing. But it was also amazing, full of laughter and fun, and many good memories. Getting through those firsts can be tricky but make memories during them because next year you will look back and remember the good times, so make sure there are good times to remember.