“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.”― Oprah Winfrey
In life, when we want to achieve a goal, we are told to work hard because practice makes perfect. All very good advice–all true. We fail to realize, if we concentrate on the bad stuff, then that’s where we stay. In fact, we get so good we aren’t sure how to change it or if we even want to try.
When Randy died, I focused on how bad I felt. I lived in the haze of sadness and downright anger. We all need to live in that for a while, avoiding it helps no one. There comes a time when we need to find a way to keep living. It didn’t take long. I realized pretty quick that the hole got deeper and darker. I knew I needed to do something–it wasn’t good for me or the kids. Change is hard–it’s also doable.
My focus wasn’t remembering my husband or honoring him, it was anger. I was angry at the person who killed Randy. Randy’s death was a tragedy, but I wasn’t focused on missing him. I focused on that event and that person who changed my world. Being angry took my focus away from grieving. I wanted to honor Randy’s memory by being better than I had been before. I wanted my kids to come out the other side as whole people–better than that, I wanted them to learn some compassion, faith, and strength–otherwise, all of it was for nothing. In my mind, Randy deserved a whole lot more than nothing, so I had to step up.
The person who killed Randy had taken enough. I was done letting myself be consumed by him. He wasn’t keeping my head and heart anymore. I quit focusing on my anger. I quit focusing on the person who killed Randy.
My life is about living and growing. When I put the killer aside, and put my focus where it needed to be, there was no more room for the anger–my heart and head were full.
We spent time talking about Randy, we lived life the best we could, and we went to counseling. We spent time with family. We played with friends. We slowly and surely, healed as best we could. We still have our moments, because it never disappears completely. Now, we remember more good times than bad. I point out how each of them have pieces of their dad inside of them. We talk about Randy’s flaws and all of his amazing qualities. We speak of what his expectations would be for them. He is forever in our lives. That anger and the killer is rarely a thought.
Sometimes I wonder if I did things right (since there is no instruction book). I know I did things the best I could and would like to think I did a great job. I’m a realist, I know I’m not perfect, however, once in a while life throws me a reminder that I did okay. With the kids all in sports and many years in the school district, we have met more new people than we can count. Most of them do not know our history. At some point, it comes up and when it does, it leaves people shocked. Up til that point, they had no idea the kids had been through something so traumatic. Often I have heard that my kids eyes sparkle and that have a light about them. The wear a badge of courage, not of a victim. They aren’t angry. They aren’t bitter. They are smart and passionate. That’s success in my book.
Had I given into that anger and let it consume them too, I’m not sure they could have ever climbed out of that hole. My focus was everything, for me and all of three of the kids. Make sure when you make the choice to heal that your focus isn’t still on the sickness, accident, or killer that stole your loved one. Don’t let that person/thing hold you down and suffocate who you are. Kick them out of your head and heart–it’s time for you to take over.