I'd like to think in my own personal experiences with grief, that it comes and goes. Some days are harder than others, but eventually you reach a certain place with it where you have more good days than bad. But then something happens and it brings you right back to it. Like it just happened yesterday. Or you feel like this progress you made was all in your head.
Today is one of those days for me.
It's been over ten years since I lost my dad and over a year since I lost my mom. For the most part, I'm doing okay. I miss them terribly and always will. But that ache isn't as sharp as it used to be. It's still there, but it's grown dull. And I've learned to live with it.
But yesterday changed all that for me.
I have the wonderful privilege to work as a group leader and team building facilitator for an incredible organization called Paradigm Shift. Through them, I have had the opportunity to travel to some pretty awesome places. Florida, Chicago, twice, Michigan, and the unlikely Poteau, Oklahoma.
Now to explain a little, I'm from Oklahoma. My hometown is about an hour and a half from Poteau. In fact, Poteau is closer to Arkansas than it is to where I live. So it seems rather odd that it would make my list of incredible places I've gone. And I'll give that to you. There is nothing overwhelmingly special about Poteau. Except it's people.
I had the opportunity to work a leadership camp with an Upward Bound group at their local college and spent three days with some incredible students and young adults. I mean, these kids are the real deal. There were such life changers in that group. And it was truly an honor to work with them. So much so that by the end of that camp, every one of us that worked it made promises to return the following year. That's how much we loved it.
Yesterday one of the students that was a part of that camp breathed her last breath after suffering in a terrible car accident. All of a sudden, this beautiful, vibrant, funny, smart 17 year old was gone. Every dream that she had, gone. Every item on her bucket list would never be completed. That put things in perspective. Big time.
Life is so incredibly short and so incredibly precious. In the blink of an eye, it can be gone. Thinking back on the short amount of time that I spent with this girl brought back every memory and feeling I had about my parents and all the time and memories that we won't share.
Today I am struggling. But I know I'm not alone. I rest in the fact that I know I'll see my parents again someday. I know that they are still with me. And always will be. But today, I feel that grief all over again. For them and for this precious student taken too soon.
So dear ones, make the most of your precious life. Dream big. Chase after those dreams. Chase after the dreams of those who never saw theirs fulfilled. Hug your loved ones. Tell them that you love them. Love them passionately. Love yourself. Change the world.
You are beautiful. Your life matters. You are needed. You are loved.
As always you can keep up with me over at ohhaiiitsbrandii.wordpress.com
Until next time,