After the First Year                                                           June 21, 2016

A year has passed. A year of “firsts”. It has been a year of anxiety and fear. A year of deep sadness, confusion, anger, depression, worry, darkness, and loneliness. A year of questions that were never answered. A year that completely changed a part of who we were, personally. I was told, “You’ve changed. You aren’t as funny as you were a year ago,” I wanted to reply, “Really? Mmmm. I wonder why.”

A year where dreams died. Futures were taken. Potential stolen. A year where we took stock of all that was lost. A year realizing that what Russell, Shawna, Tylee and Blake were to us could never be replaced by anyone else! We grieved over and over as we pondered, individually, what we would never have again what we had with each of them.

It was also a year of solace, peace, acceptance, forgiveness, joy, understanding, reassurance, and healing. We had to understand what our “new normal” was going to look like.

The grieving process has changed from one of shock, disbelief, and denial, to a sort of reluctant acceptance. Acceptance of the fact that they are gone. This really happened. We had to analyze, personally, what we had to do now. Where were we to go from here.

Obviously, each of us has changed. For myself, I want and need quiet time more than before. I don’t want to be around loud, busy, commotions. I like calm, quiet solitude. The things I gravitate towards are those activities that are uplifting, encouraging and inspiring.

When I hear on the news of a murder/suicide situation, I could not ever judge it again!  To a much more deeper degree, I realized that family and friends are precious and life is too short to hold grudges. Forgiveness comes easier. Acceptance and understanding goes a long way in our relationships. We are not promised tomorrow.

I know that as hard as it has been to push forward, I still have a purpose for my life that God wants me to fulfill. Only with His help have I been able to do this work. Life is still worth living. Life is still good.

Has this work been easy? No, it hasn’t. Do I still cry? Absolutely! Do I still grieve? Sure, I do. Do I have Hope for the future? Without a doubt. I still have a purpose for my life.

Even though I get up every day and do what needs to be done, because of course, life goes on, the death of our family is like a dark cloud that hangs over my head, every single day. It’s just always there. However, because we go to work, meet up with friends and do something fun, go on vacation, take a motorcycle ride, go camping, go to a movie, watch TV or read a book, sit on the porch and watch a hummingbird at its feeder, wave to a neighbor walking by, missing our family and knowing why they aren’t with us anymore is not far away.