As life progresses, we all have moments that can be a defining moment or a pivotal moment. Some will define you with a label of sorts and some can cause you to change the path you are on forever. Up until four years ago, I am not sure I even realized I had a major, pivotal moment in my life. Defining moments, yes. I got married, became a mother, was employed. All defining. I don’t recall taking steps to literally change what I did or who I was based on a single event from a standing moment in time. This is how I view pivotal moments, ones that changed the very being of who I am.
When my brothers and parents died, my life went on. They were still my brothers and my parents. I can’t describe any moments that changed the structure of my actions. Yes, I mourned their losses. Yes, I miss them being here. But the lives that were pivotally changed were my mother’s life and those of my brothers’ spouses. I went home to my husband and children. Those losses still left a void, but at some level, being the youngest, I knew this would happen in my future at some point. It just happened sooner than I thought it would.
When my son died four years ago, it was both a defining moment and a pivotal one for me. I went from a mother with two kids to a survivor of losing one. I became defined as a bereaved parent. The hardest part of this for me was when everyone else went back to their “normal” life knowing mine will never be the same. This was what my mother and sister-in-laws went through making it a pivotal moment. My pivot was no different but developed further over the following changes: through my writing and then when we lost the first of one of his friends. That second part, the loss of another young life, was truly my moment of taking more serious action. Yes, I am still a bereaved mother, but now I am a mother on a mission!
A year and a half ago, I was asked to present my son’s story to the Victims Impact Panel for my county and I agreed. It was difficult the first couple times, but if I could change the path of even one person during those sessions, it is worth it!! While giving my presentation, I introduce everyone to my son and provide a list of attributes that best describe his life. Those are the qualities I want to define my son: a redneck, truck-loving mechanic who loved bonfires and music. He was my human radio and could name an artist and learn words to a song after only hearing it once. We all make choices: good and bad. We can’t change what happened, but we can pivot in this moment to change the future.
During my presentation, I see people that could have been my child. During the most recent panel, one participant said I reminded him of his mother. I took this as an opportunity. I told him I could yell at him if it helped, but what he needed to do was own the moment. It was a bad decision, but did not have to be his defining moment. Time to pivot. Learn from it. Change the course. Turn a negative into a positive.
Most of us seem fine to accept moments in time and move on. Those become defining moments. The day we got married. The day we graduated. For my son, the day a DUI was issued. Dates that define us, but did not change us as a whole. My true pivotal moment with my son feels just as strong as the day the twin towers were hit on 9/11/01. That day changed a lot of people, along with the country. It was more than a date on a calendar. It was pivotal.
I wish I could go back in time and teach the pivot move to my son. I did have him own his actions, but had not connected the dots of defining or pivotal yet. I think we were close, but not close enough. I cannot undo the past, but my hope is to change the future, one presentation, Facebook post, or blog post at a time! I am sure I can analyze my past to find more pivotal moments, but none will compare to the life-changing experience of losing my son. It changed me forever.
For those struggling through a pivotal moment in their life, I hope they can try and find the positive direction from that point in time and decide to use that experience to find what they are truly capable of surviving. I think I finally understand “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” It took me a half of a century plus, but I get it. This experience has taught me the most about myself and how our lives can change, not to mention how we can change, in one pivotal motion.
I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here…
#forever24 #pivotalmoments #findthepositive #thedashinthemiddle