Looking back on this past year it is very clear it was the worst year and the best year of my life. I feel I have been humbled and knocked down to my knees while being the most blessed person in the world. Usually those two don’t get put together, but in my case it is definitely the truth. And sadly, two events have defined my 2012.
A year ago I was blessed with a beautiful baby boy. He has been the light of my life since before he even arrived. He is healthy and happy and has been my rock through some very dark times. He is such a blessing and I am so thankful.
In April, I lost my brother. He was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle when he was on a Sunday afternoon ride. We were 18 months apart in age. He was my best friend, he was my protector and I miss him dearly. He left a wife and two very young boys. With this loss our entire family dynamic has changed. People who haven’t spoken for years are now friends. And some that were close no longer speak. Tragedies don’t end with the loss. It shakes the entire foundation of your life and the rebuilding process is not an easy task. It has been 8 months and still I do not go a day without breaking down and I feel that I am constantly thinking about him. I cannot hear a guitar without thinking of him, hear Van Halen, hear a Harley, see a blue polo, smell cologne, see Orion’s Belt , or bb gun, drive by a lake, see an F250—He is everywhere.
Without Jackson I don’t think I would have made it through loosing my brother as well as I have managed. I know I cannot curl up in a ball and wish it away. I know I have to continue with my normal schedule. But from April 23rd through today Jackson has been the best distraction. Jackson demands attention, and it is attention I give him. When I cry he makes me laugh, and when I need a hug he is the best snuggler. I never had time to crawl into a dark closet or pull the covers over my head—he was there grinning saying “Ball” or crying because it was time to eat. He is my top priority in life and he has saved me. When someone tells me that he is a ‘gift’ they don’t have a clue how much I agree with them.
Never had I really given much thought to ‘New Year Resolutions,’ but this year I will definitely have a list. I feel like two things defined 2012—the loss of my brother and the arrival of my son. Sadly, because the two of them are always on my mind—whether front and center or on a back burner I feel other aspects have suffered.
I feel like some things I do on autopilot. For instance, at work—I feel I go through the motions and I give it a good go, but I don’t have the momentum that I once had built up. I have been weak and had to give up accounts like the Harley Davidson dealership because I am not strong enough to go on the property. The couple of times I tried I immediately saw a bike that looked like Trav’s bike and I was immediately crippled and couldn’t move. And when I have Travis or Jackson taking up a big portion of my brain space I find I don’t have the memory that I once had. I use to could look at someone and remember their names, their children’s names, when they ran their last ad, for how much, and so on. Now I forget whether or not I called them last week when I thought about a new idea for them.
So for 2013…
1) My husband- Thank everyday for being there for me this past year and let him know how much I appreciate him.
2) Work- Give it the attention that it deserves. Try to focus on work and give it 100% of my effort. Go out and meet more people instead of feeling a little down and not wanting to get out of my comfort zone.
3) Family and Friends—Every day let people know how much they mean to me. The one bright part that I saw throughout the entire grieving process is I know Travis knew how much I loved him and how proud I was of him and his life. I cannot imagine had our last words been words of anger. So I hope that I remember this with every person I deal with whether family, friend, or stranger.
4) Remember to give thanks for the blessings in my life. I am so thankful for a supportive family, for my great friends, for my job, for my co-worker, and most of all for my son. I pray I never take you for granted because you are my life. I will do my best to remember that even when times are hard.
**Rhonda said something similar about loss a few weeks ago that made me realize we are often not alone during tough times—when we get to be adults we all know loss of some sort. Most of us have lost a sibling, a parent, a child, a friend, a spouse. Now that I have been through this I know there is nothing that I can tell you that will make you feel better. Just know that I will always be on your side and I will keep you and your family in my prayers. We all have our own stories, and those stories will forever define our lives. Hopefully we can all find strength in the dark and can rebuild our lives.