In the deepest, most painful, and darkest part of grief there can be a gift of clarity that can only be found at the end of yourself. In the midst of walking in a haze after loss, we realize most of what consumed our thoughts and worries previously - was all a waste of time. Sadly, after the funeral is over and time passes, we tend to drift back into our default mode of operating and get sucked back into a life of distraction as time and people pass us by.
Jacob’s death gave me a hyper awareness of what I should care about and what really mattered in life. My patience, compassion, and care for those around me increased, while my worry and stress about things like work or money faded away. It felt like I had been given a new pair of glasses to look at the world. And, while I didn’t like how I got this new perspective, I noticed how much freedom I felt to have my mind free of things that once seemed like mountains but turned out to be specs of dust considering our experience.
Unfortunately, time has gone by. Nearly 8 years later that clarity has become blurred by time, my lack of intention to practice what it taught me, and just the busyness of life. What patience I may have gained has gone way to frustration. I cringe inside after I realize I just yelled in traffic. I can get too easily frustrated in my work. I don’t pray for people like I should. I’ve not given like I should to church or charity. I’m complaining about meaningless things. I get angry too easily. I don’t want to fall back into the old me. I want to live out the lessons I too painfully learned.
Like most things in life we have to be reminded that we need to stop and recalibrate to what is real and to focus on those people and ideals that really matter. I am determined to live the rest of my life using this experience to become a better man, leader, husband, and father. Much of the time, I’m failing in one or all these areas. I need to do better. Thankfully, I’ve got a wife, daughters, family, friends, and co-workers that all inspire me.
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my son. I hate that it has become normal to not talk about him with people. Walking through life not getting to talk about one of your children is such an unnatural experience. But, he is not forgotten. Even though it is devastating to not have him with us, we as a family are committed to live a life that honors him and carries him forward by living out the lessons we learned both in his life and death.