Losing someone unexpectedly is one of the hardest parts of life.
There’s the ‘what if’ questions…
What if (he or she) was still here? What if I could’ve told them what I didn’t get to? Or what if I’d have been more present?
I wrote in PART ONE of this post that my dad, in his helpless, quadriplegic body, looked my mom in the eyes the day he died and said, “I’m so glad you’re the one taking care of me today.”
What if, like my dad, I looked at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty?
What if I focused on the sweet memories I have of my dad? What if I held onto the time I spent with him, rather than dreaming of times that never got to happen?
Well, what if???…
My problem with ‘what if’ is that it always ends with a question mark, leaving room to wonder and it has no attached-guarantee—meaning you may or may not do it; it may or may not happen.
Honestly the words ‘what if’ don’t hold much hope if they’re not put to action. When the words ‘what if’ transition over to action-based verbs they’re replaced with words such as ‘I do’ and ‘I will’ …those are (helping) verbs that can make a difference. Statements using ‘I do’ and ‘I will’ create certainty, boldness, and motivation.
My mindset needs to be action-based, not wavering with ‘what ifs’!
Here’s how that can look for myself:
I WILL focus on the sweet memories I have of my dad. I WILL cherish the time I was able to spend with him.
Or…I DO intentionally look for opportunities to be a blessing to others.
…And I WILL (in my prayers) adopt my dad’s very words and praise God saying, “I’m so glad you’re the one taking care of me today”…
In those statements there’s no place for ‘what if’.
Positive ‘action-based‘ mentality can make an incredible difference by letting go of the ‘what if’ questions.
My mom still lives in the same house I grew up in. There was never a reason to move after the car accident since my dad didn’t survive; he was the only reason we had originally planned to move anyway.
Last week we celebrated the Fourth of July and keeping tradition we headed over to my mom’s for the day.
While we sat outback, I thought of a wooden ladder that had kept coming to my mind recently. The one my dad used every now and then for his work. I wondered if it was still around. Curiosity led me into the garage where few of my dad’s belongings still sit.
Propped up against a dusty white wall was that old wooden ladder in three parts. It’s one you put together from three separate pieces. I liked the looks of the middle piece and pulled it from the other two. Carrying it from the garage, I let my mom know I was taking it home with me.
For someone who’s a “farmhouse-style enthusiast” it looked as if it’d make the perfect blanket holder…
I left it pretty original, just sanding down some of the sharp edges and here it now sits in my bedroom.
I feel like it has my dad’s unruly character all over it.❤️
Even though he’s been gone eighteen years, I’m still experiencing the blessings of having him as my dad. And I’m getting better at looking at the positive…rather than sulking in the ‘what ifs’.
How do you cope with the loss of a loved one years later? Feel free to comment with encouraging tips or advice.