What 2018 taught me about myself…

We all have turning points in our lives when we can recall the events that have led us to certain epiphanies. I had several of those moments in 2018! Those moments have taught me a lot about myself, my abilities, my weaknesses, and my strengths!

By the end of 2017, I realized I was very different than I was when the year had started. Ending 2018 is a bit of a repeat, but in a different way. The first of everything you had done before, but are now experiencing after a tragic loss of a loved one is the “first of the worst.” This experience lasts for an entire year up to the one year anniversary of their passing. As 2018 began, there were still several “first of the worst” I had not experienced yet: my son’s birthday, my birthday, several major holidays, and the one year anniversary of that fateful night! Trust me when I say the first is the worst, but even the second time around has a bit of a sting to it!

The first thing I learned this year is we all have battles others may know nothing about. Show kindness always. I am amazed how many people have gone through the loss of a child! I don’t assume anything anymore because we don’t know! I am grateful at how many of those in this ‘club’ have reached out to me since my loss, and how many have been given my contact information after their loss! I want to say there is strength in numbers, but in this case, it is strength in the number of those praying for each other and just being there so they know they are not alone.

I am not the same person I was the year before this all happened. My priorities are so different from what they were. I want to help others, but the process is assisting me as well. I look for the positives in every day and the positives in others that I may have overlooked before. I take nothing for granted and appreciate the little things so much more! It is amazing how those little things are what people remember the most!!

I have realized I can cry and smile at the same memory at the same time!! I also know it is ok to cry. Crying is not a sign of weakness! Sometimes, moments just get to you, but I am going to be more upset if some of those memories don’t bring tears! I also love that I can still laugh at some of those memories. The fact that it can be the same memory is just another oxy-moron situation I find myself in. I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here!

Going forward after losing a child does not mean you didn’t love that child with all your heart! This is the only direction they would want you to be moving in. If I dwell in the past or all the things that won’t happen now because he is gone (things that were not guaranteed), I will live in perpetual sadness. I figure I have at least another 20 to 25 years on this Earth if all goes well. I cannot live that being sad every day. I am also not guaranteed those years and need to live life. Period. My son would want that. If not, I will die of a broken heart and leave nothing but a trail of tears. I want to meet up with my son and have him proud of me for living for both of us!

I have also realized I am very OCD and spend as much time, if not more, editing Facebook when I am reading posts. I want to educate people on the proper use of “you’re and your”, “there and their”, and “to, too, and two”!! I am sure there are more!! If the misspellings of these words do not bother you, please let me know the secret!!!

There are many other self-realizations I have experienced, but these top my list! Some may call these experiences a part of life. I call them “life-changing.” I am not better for having lost my son. I am changed. My focus has changed. My goals have changed. I want to be better. I want to notice the positives. I want to make sure his life lives on through me. I want to look at 2019 as another year of finding out who I am. I am hoping for happy times, recalling past moments while making great memories, and hoping for continued positive changes in my future.

We are in control of many things. We can’t change the past or the sadness that came from certain events. We can change how we deal with the sadness and how we proceed going forward, knowing we are better for having those loved ones in our lives, even if it was not for as long as we had hoped for. All our lives have meaning and purpose. I don’t want to ever forget that!! Spread that word!! Remember, life is not about birth and death, but everything in between! Live and live well!! Happy New Year!!

#anotheryearaddedtomydash #liveandlivewell #lifeismeasuredinmoments

Author: Christina Herold Trueblood

My name is Christina Trueblood. I am married and live in Central Illinois and am the mother of two, a daughter and son. Unfortunately, I lost my son in August 2017 in a single vehicle truck accident a couple of miles from our home. He was 24. I have documented some of my story on Facebook over this first year and have been encouraged to start a blog. I hope to help other families who have gone through loss and struggle to make any sense of it. My faith has kept me going and I believe one day, we will meet those loved ones we have lost again and it will be as if no time has passed. Until then, I want to honor their lives and know they left a mark on my life! Please follow me and share your stories.

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