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These are the Lessons that a Recent Death has Taught Me About Life

life-lessons-from-death.pngI love writing, but lately, I haven’t been able to write. My mornings are cloudy despite sunshine, and my evenings are quiet despite living with a toddler. Time is moving slowly. Tears are falling more easily. It’s harder to experience joy.

These are the feelings from loss. Despite being a glass-half-full, joyful, life-loving cheerleader, smiles are hard to come by. My father passed away unexpectedly from heart disease in March 2016.

Since my father’s death, the last few weeks have been riddled with questions. The biggest one: Why? Instead of seeking answers, I seek a new meaning. These past few weeks have been about understanding what life can bring now, instead of what death has taken away. This introduces new life lessons, and here are a few I’ve learned in the past month.

Don’t hide…move

There are times that all I want to do is hide and run away. I want to be alone. However, I push myself to see and talk to people. Every time I do, I feel stronger. It’s good to spend time grieving, but do so with those you love, so you’re always supported.

Now I run more. A week after my father passed, I ran the furthest I’ve ever run before: six miles. I felt like I could run forever that day, and I’ve been more motivated to run ever since. I find that the movement of running clears my head. I don’t think about family or work or my to-do list. I think about nothing but the road ahead of me. It’s calming and refreshing.

Stop sweating the small stuff

I lost my mom as a teenager in 1999. Back then, I stopped caring about the insignificant worries of life. Sure, at the time, I was boy crazy, loved the mall, and always planned the next sleepover (I was still a teenage girl, after all), but I had a constant eye roll at the girls crying in the bathroom over boys, breakups, and high school football games. To these girls, all of that stuff meant something. To me, it meant nothing. Perspective is everything, but no matter your experiences, you can ask yourself if the stresses in life are really worth stressing over. I tend to ask myself, will this issue be an issue in a week, a month or a year? If not, then stress be gone. If yes, then take the time to focus on it.

Why are we in a hurry to get things done?

One of my parents’ favorite songs was I’m in a Hurry to Get Things Done by Alabama. We’d bop to the tune as kids, but my parents lived by the message:

“I’m in a hurry to get things done, I rush and rush until life’s no fun, All I really want to do is live and die, I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”

Despite the catchy tune, it’s more important to stop and slowly take in the world around you. Take your time in making decisions. Take it slow when spending time with people, and enjoy every moment.

Get out and live

Since my dad passed, I’ve continued to travel for work. I continue to see friends and family. I  By traveling and surrounding myself with people that love the working world, I feel that I’m contributing to society again. Despite how hard it may seem, it’s important to push yourself to keep going. It’s what my mom would have wanted. It’s what my dad would have wanted. And most importantly, it’s what I want.

Make a difference

I was moved and motivated by my friend Tim Clarke. He hiked Mount Everest in an effort to raise money for the people of Nepal and in honor of his late father.

I have yet to decide what I will do make a difference and take a big challenge head on, but I will figure it out (and no, it will not be hiking a 30,000 foot mountain!).

My brother and I are healing, and we cannot thank everyone enough for the support. I hope these lessons are helpful, no matter what experiences come your way.

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