This post is dedicated to my father-in-law, Bernie Smith. In a dreadful moment he laid the foundation upon which I could find the strength to stand up and move forward. A simple, honest moment and wise words from the heart of one grieving parent to another truly left a lasting impact. So thank you for your wisdom Bernie. Thank you. 💖
Third Grade Dropout<<
before you read my blog post click the link above and watch. Watch and listen. Really listen to what he is saying to you. Once you have done that then you can proceed with reading my blog post.<
My STAND UP moment happened on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 around 11am. It had been less than 24 hours since our Reagan took her last breath. It was a quiet morning. People were moving in and out of the house. Only ever staying for a brief moment. I barely noticed any of them. My thoughts were consumed with worry about how we were going to move on without her. I was lost.
I didn’t really sleep the night before. I hadn’t really slept in days if I’m honest. Hadn’t really eaten either. I was just floating through the moments. Each day seemed to get longer than the one before. When I got out of bed on that quiet morning I wasn’t sure what to do. As I sat there just staring I picked up my phone and got on Facebook. It was around 8:30am at the time and as I started to scroll through my news feed I saw multiple posts about the death of my daughter. I saw posts from people that knew me and from those that didn’t. I panicked. In that moment by myself on the porch I panicked. She was gone. It was Facebook official. She wasn’t coming back and everyone knew it. Well, not everyone.
My mind quickly shifted as I realized that several of our close friends and family didn’t even know that Reagan had been hospitalized. They had no idea. Facebook could NOT be the way they found out. They deserved more than that. Reagan deserved more than that. So I moved to the back porch and closed the door. I sat there and made phone call after phone call to tell our loved ones of Reagan’s passing. They all offered their deepest sympathies. They cried with me on the phone. One of my friends responded with, “Oh Marg, I have no words except I love you.” That was the most perfect response in that moment. And we cried. Then we hung up and both proceeded to make more phone calls. You see, for some of them I asked for their help. I asked them to help me make phone calls because I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get to them all in time. They kindly obliged. Between each call I took a few minutes to gather my composure and work up the nerve to be able to speak the words again to someone else. To let the words, “Reagan is gone. She died yesterday,” pass through my lips. It took me a little over an hour to make the calls and at the end I was exhausted. For the first time since it started I felt the exhaustion but not in a tired I need to sleep kind of way. Exhausted in a way that cuts much deeper than that. My heart was exhausted. My head was exhausted. My body was exhausted. My souls was exhausted. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t go forward. There was no way.
I’m not sure how long I sat there by myself staring at the trees and creek out back but eventually my father-in-law walked out. He didn’t say anything at first. I didn’t say anything. We both just stared out the back window looking at the trees and creek. Me sitting on the bench and him standing to my left. Then he said to me, neither of us breaking our gaze, “somehow you will find a way.” He said, “You will never get over this. It will always be with you but somehow you will find a way. Time will help a little but it will always be with you. She will be with you.”
I didn’t respond. I couldn’t. You see my father-in-law knows my pain. He too has a daughter that passed away at a young age. So I knew he got it. He knew a little bit about where I was in that moment. What he doesn’t know and what I didn’t know until much later was how much those words would stick with me. How much him telling me that this will always be with me but that I will find a way would help me stand up and keep going.
Trust me, when tragedy strikes EVERYONE has words of wisdom or advice for you. Most are well-meaning but most tend to slightly irritate you or just piss you off altogether. If anyone else had spoken those words to me it would have angered me. Coming from him it gave me peace. In that moment I felt peace within me. Felt peace around me. The exhaustion subsided for just a few moments. It didn’t last but it was there. A glimmer of hope that I would find a way. That we would all find a way.
799 days after those words of wisdom we are still finding our way but we are standing. Each day I choose to stand up. I stand for Reagan. I stand for Aidan and Ryan. I stand for Alex. I stand for myself. Some days I stumble but I keep going. It’s not a perfect journey and certainly not an easy one but I am finding my way. I think we are all finding our way through. Together we are doing it. With Reagan soaring above us and beside us we are doing it.
As we move into a new year a lot of people will be making resolutions. Most of the resolutions will be about ones self. Goals to lose weight, eat healthier, run a marathon, etc. I challenge each of us to not only make a resolution about yourself but also a resolution to make an impact. Make a resolution to make each day greater than the last. To be kind and to approach each other from a place of grace and understanding. In 2018 I hope we all strive to be better for ourselves and for others. The last 800 days since Reagan passed have been hell on earth but each day I choose to stand. Stand with me. Standing together we can make quite the impact. How will you live in 2018?
Cheers to 2018!
#juststand #bekind #howareyouliving