Many years ago, we unexpectedly lost a loved one. We were playing putt-putt golf, on the 18th hole and she was winning. We were laughing, happy and carefree. Then, a second later … she had a stroke. It was devastating and life-changing. No warning, just gone. She was happily married and had two young, precious children. I watched their grief and was helpless.
Her death changed how I live. I had experienced other losses, but this was different because death came so suddenly – it taught me the value of each second.
Then, I became a mom. This experience began to haunt me and fear set into my life. I wasn’t afraid of death for me, but I was fearful that my children would grow up without a mom. I was anxious. I prayed for help. It didn’t happen automatically, but looking back … God brought people into my life and gave me the tools I needed to help with this anxiety.
Here are just a few things that have helped me:
- I started a family tradition. Each year on my child’s birthday, I write them a letter. I try to capture the time frozen in that moment – how I feel about them, things they’ve done to make me laugh or cry happy tears, their personality traits, favorite toys, etc. They will always have those letters from Mom, no matter what happens to me.
- I realized that death is a part of life. I have no control over when I die so I will stop wasting today.
- I cherish every day, every second. Life is short.
- The most helpful of all – I read the following Scriptures. I memorized the words, stamped them on my heart. And little by little, when the fear would creep in, my mind would automatically remember these truths.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Philippians 4:6 — Don’t worry, be prayerful!
“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” Proverbs 12:25
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Matthew 6:27
Although her sudden death changed my life, so did her life legacy. She was my step-mom. She truly lived, she spent more time investing in her children than having an immaculate house. Before I had children, I secretly judged her “messiness”. Now, I get it. I’m enjoying my own mess!
What helps you value each day instead of worrying about the future? Please share your stories and ideas!