Great Grief

The glass is half full. Look on the bright side. It could be worse. A blessing in disguise.  You can’t judge a book by its cover. A light at the end of the tunnel.

We have all heard the optimists in our lives recite these idioms. But why should we choose to see the glass half full, look on the bright side, or acknowledge how “it could be worse”? Well. Because we have the choice. It comes down to our attitude/outlook/mindset/position/opinion/approach; Happiness lies in PERSPECTIVE.

I made a choice four + years ago that has enabled me to be a more understanding, compassionate person with a positive perspective. July 27, 2014 was the day that I had missed calls from both my parents while I was giving my babies a bath, and so I called my mom back first. Never in a TRILLION years did I expect to hear her tell me that my sister Shannon was dead. Never did I ever imagine that she would tell me that her ex-husband shot and killed her in cold blood in front of their 2 boys and my parents, and then take his own life. But that is what happened.

One week prior to July 27, my sister Shannon called with a heavy heart to tell me that our baby cousin Zachary had died unexpectedly. I saw her at his funeral where we shared memories and cried together. I talked to her on the phone on the morning that she died while she was setting up her 2nd grade classroom. I loved her (10 years my senior) every second of my whole entire life. And just like that, she was gone. Zachary was gone. In the course of one week, unthinkable pain struck my entire family. And now here I am. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. I am a smiley, happy person, but I smile with an excruciating painful hole in my heart. I have learned to live with that hole, because grief I now know, is the price of love.

Shannon and I always joked around about looking at the glass half full when really crappy things happened in our lives. We talked about having hearts of gold and she truly had one. In interest of NOT turning a blog post into a novel, I will get to the point here.  Things aren’t always easy, but our life is good, and it is filled with MANY blessings. I never thought in those early days that I would be able to find value in my life after losing my sister. But I have, and I have done so in her honor. And in mine.

I value that I went from being an aunt to Shannon’s boys to being their parent on earth. I cherish the most amazing friends that we might not have made otherwise. I appreciate  that my already good relationships and friendships have strengthened and improved. I am thankful that I got to move back to my hometown and be near my parents, oldest sister, family and friends. Even though EVERYKIND (at that time Mama Said Tees) was under a week old when Shannon died, our goal to spread love and kindness became more like a world changing mission. I am fortunate that I am able to look at things from the other side more easily because life has become so much more dimensional for me. I have learned new things. I have tried new things. It would have been easy to allow sadness to win, but I chose a grateful heart and a happy perspective because that’s what Shan would want for me. It doesn’t mean that stupid, pain in the you know what things don’t happen in our lives (hello. we have 5 kids. end of that story). But it means that I believe that I have gotten stronger every single day and I know there is only room for me to keep improving physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. I let myself grieve. I can’t help but miss her. She was my very best friend in the world. But I KNOW that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it.

My sister is gone, but I’m still here. My happiness lies in perspective.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy says:

    Truly amazing!


  2. jenninolan9366 says:

    Ladies, I am loving your blog posts this week. Keem them coming!


  3. stephrreid83 says:

    What a beautiful story! We are traveling through the path of grief as we lost our son in October. Grief is so hard to navigate, especially trying to help 2 small children who lost their baby brother. Love these blogs!


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