Categories: F.Y.I.

5 Lessons I Learned from Losing a Loved One

On December 30, 2013 I experienced the worst day of my life. A day that I didn’t think would come till I was old and grey (well grey-ish); my mom passed away. I was only 20 years old. But through the tears and the hugs, the trial and the pain, I learned a few lessons.

1. Cherish every moment.

My mom had heart problems for years and my family always knew she wasn’t in perfect health; but we didn’t think she would die so soon. We never know when a life will end, so cherish every moment – the good and the bad. I look back on the time I had with my mom and reflect on every moment I had with her. Her coming to my soccer games and my concerts, her driving me places and me yelling at her to speed up because we were going to be late. There is not a single moment I would change, because I got to spend these moments with her. We need to love every moment of life because these are the only moments we get.

2. Bad things are going to happen.

Believe it or not, we’re all going to have bad things happen to us. Bad things are going to happen in life, and there is nothing you can do about it. I used to think I was going to have the perfect life. A good job, a big house, a perfect family, and that my parents wouldn’t die till I was at least 50 years old. Bad things are going to happen, so just roll with the punches and smile with the sad because life goes on, which leads me to my next point.

3. Life goes on.

Life goes on and you can’t stop it. I can’t even count how many times I ask God to stop time and rewind, because all the condolences never gave me the thing I really wanted; my mom. The condolences couldn’t bring back my mom and neither could God, which left me with two options: living in the past or moving forward with life. I choose to move forward. Moving on in life doesn’t mean I am forgetting my mom, it just means I am strong enough to move on with life because it isn’t stopping for me. Life sucks now, but it always gets better. Also, if you dwell in the pain, you’re going to miss out on the present and you’re going to watch life pass you by. There are so many great moments to come in life even after a loved one is gone; graduation, marriage, children. Yes, I wish my mom was going to be here to see these moments, but I know she wouldn’t want me to dwell in sadness and miss these glorious events.

4. It’s not your fault.

This was hard for me to accept, because all you can think about is if you could have done something. The day my mom died, she complained about not feeling well and said she needed an ambulance. I told her that she didn’t need an ambulance, because she tended to be dramatic, and I also knew a few things that could help her (I study Sports Medicine). I suggested that if she need help she should call my aunt, because I had plans with my friend that day. Before I left the house I did all that I could to make sure she felt comfortable, told her I loved her and that I would see her later. But that didn’t happen. Later that day I got a call from dad telling me the worst; my mom had died. That moment I couldn’t have helped but think it was my fault that mom had died. If I wasn’t prideful and had just called the ambulance, she would still be alive. The doctor later told us that there was nothing that we could have done; she would have passed soon either way. That fact still didn’t change how I felt, I still believed it was my fault. Over time I came to terms that it wasn’t my fault and realized all things happen for a reason; for the good and the bad. We all have a timeline and it is specific to each and every one of us, we all have a day of birth and a day that we die. As family and friends we need to remember that because no matter what happens, it’s not your fault.

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5. Life is short.

This was the number one lesson I learned. We aren’t going to live forever, and we don’t know the day we’re going to die. We could be in a car accident the next time we get in the car, or we can contract some very obscure disease that only gives us a day to live. The point is we don’t know when we are going to die, so live like today is your last day. Don’t be afraid; take a chance on something that you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t be sad; rejoice in the trial and pain because life is too short to be sad for too long. Be you; because there is only one you and there will only be one you. Change the world; because it only takes one to start a revolution. Life is too short to focus on the ‘what if’s,’ the ‘should have’s,’ and ‘I wish I could have’s.’ You want something? Go and get it. Missing someone? Call them. You want to be understood? Explain it. Don’t like something? Say it. Like something? State it. Love someone? Tell them. Because tomorrow you might not be able to.


Featured image source: and the
Taylor Lange

Taylor is a student at Colorado State University studying health and exercise science. She loves hockey, is a die-hard Avs fan, and enjoys hiking and the outdoors.

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