This is a pretty big picture isn't it. I did this on purpose because I wanted you to see the difference between the same people 4 years apart. Both pictures were taken in Tennessee so it's not the setting that makes them different. Yes we are wearing different clothes but that is not what I want you to look at. It's the faces.
Two weeks after we buried Randy I needed to leave town. I couldn't stay in the house that he died in without going slightly insane so the kids and I took at road trip. A two week road trip actually and it was exactly what we needed. We made multiple stops on our little adventure and one was to Randy's family in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The top picture labeled 2016 was taken the day that we were going to head back home. In those faces I see fear, uncertainty and a lot of sadness. Fast forward to the second picture, 3 years later at my niece's wedding. Much happier and a lot less fear.
Here is why, Here is my secret to obtaining happiness. Because I believe that happiness doesn't just come to you. Well, maybe when you were a baby happiness is naturally there. But after life takes a hold of you and shakes you up a bit, happiness doesn't just come. You have to search for it. Happy people work to be happy.
About 6 months after Randy died I was still a wreck. Hurt, confused and in constant fear that my kids were taught by their dad that dying by suicide is ok. Jordan can tell you the many panic attacked fueled phone calls that I made to him after he didn't pick up his cell phone after 3 rings. Heaven forbid I couldn't get in touch with him at all. I actually drove to a house that he was dog sitting at because he didn't pick up his phone and I automatically assumed the worst. Yes, I should have trusted my kids to make the right choice towards life, but my head was in a bad place.
Until I did this.
I decided one day in a light bulb moment kind of way that I was going to live life with no regrets. Whoa!! What?! Yep. No regrets. That means that I tell my kids I love them, I reach out to family and I talk to people with respect. I treat people in a way that if something happened to them and I didn't see them again, I wouldn't have any regrets on our last conversation. Once I made that decision to live my life that way I felt a sense of peace wash over me. It was nice. To this day I still live that way. Now I am not perfect (my children will attest to that) but I do my best. I act as kindly as I can and help my kids with every resource I have.
Regret to me is a poison. I regret a number of things about the circumstances of Randy's death. What could I have done differently to save him? I will have to live with that forever. But I have full control of the amount of regret I feel with all of my future actions. I mean if I think regret is a poison, why on earth would I want to act in a way to bring poison into my heart?
Looking at these pictures make me smile. It shows that life should be fought for and living a life without regret can bring a new kind of happiness. It will bring you new memories and with a little work, new happiness just like these folks right here.
Keep Fighting Because Your Story Is Not Over Yet.