A few days ago, I accidently deleted all of my text messages. My heart dropped into my stomach – I felt sick. Fortunately, my phone had just had a back up to the [nonexistent] cloud the night before. I was able to go into my settings to factory reset my phone. Then, I just had to sign back into my iTunes account upon reload to retrieve all of my messages. It seems like a lot of work, right? But that’s the ability we have in life today… With nearly every circumstance, we have the ability to control the situation and alter the outcome. But there is one situation we cannot control – Death. Over the holidays, I watch three separate families I know lose their dads. I watched three separate families go through a whirlwind of emotions – anger, sadness, fear. I cannot empathize with these families. I have never lost a parent. I’ve lost grandparents and cousins and aunts – but never the a person who’s DNA was encrypted into my making. For a long time I thought I was immune to death. Death had slapped me in the face four times in less than two years. It was to the point that the funeral home knew my entire family. I worked in the emergency room and in EMS. I’ve seen a lot of death. After watching these three families lay their fathers to rest during the holidays, it nearly shattered me.
So as I began to indulge in this easy technological fix, it hit me. Death is hard for us to accept. We cannot just push CRTL+ALT+DELETE and fix the situation. There is no way possible to fix it. We have to attempt to seek closure in some sort of fashion. As we relive these moments, we want so badly to just reset the situation. We live in a world where we have the ability to clean the slate and start fresh. When death occurs, we cannot do that. We lose control of the situation. Often times we blame ourselves and think what we could have did differently. But the thing is, it is not up to us. There is nothing we can do to change it. There is nothing we can do to fix it. As much as I hate this saying, it is what it is.
I would love for there to be a quick fix for death. I would love to hit the reset button and remove the tragedy. But we cannot do that. We live in world that shapes us to have the ability to fix nearly anything… But we’ve lost how to fix ourselves. The only fix that I have found for death is to put one foot in front of the other. Same days may be great, some days may be terrible – but just breathe deeply and take it one small step at a time.
To anyone who is broken by their loss of a loved one: I was angry with God for a long time. I did not understand why or how He could just strip someone out of my life in an instant. It took me a long time to be able to cope and be okay with things. Ten years later, the hurt is still there. Things do not get easier. But I think we learn to adapt over time. Just remember – the first year is always the hardest… The first birthday, Christmas, 4th of July, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Football season. Inhale. Exhale. One day at a time.