Live Well Part III Letting Go of the Shoulda’, Coulda’, Woulda’ Mentality

Today, March 7, 2024, is my son’s birthday. This would be his 30th birthday. He didn’t make it though. He took his own life when he was 24.
I’ve had friends ask how I am doing. I reply that I think about my son and still miss him; however, I am doing well.
I can listen to his Spotify playlist and not cry. Instead, I have beautiful memories of him jamming to the music and times we spent together listening to songs we both loved.
When I talk about him with friends, especially those who knew and loved him, I might shed a tear and feel sad only because the person I am with is doing the same. The grief passes quickly, and we move onto the pleasure of knowing him and watching his wild antics. Grief transforms into joy and laughter.
Today, I will go the skate park with his sister where his memorial tree is planted. I can’t believe how much the tree has grown! He would love it. It is not yet big enough to climb but soon enough it will. His young nieces and nephews will be able to in his honor.
At the park, I can visualize him riding the ramps, jumping, and flipping his board. His sister and I will clean up around his tree, make sure it is doing well and take some pictures of us with the kids. It is a moment to remember and a moment to live in the present. I can feel the joy in my heart because I will be with those who are alive and with me.
After visiting his tree, tacos for dinner are in order. Although it is not Tuesday for Taco Tuesday, we will do it anyhow.
The 2 older kids, age 4 and 7, are learning about their uncle who died. They are experiencing how to remember and talk about those who have gone before us. They are learning how to handle grief through the words and actions of their mother and myself. This is such a valuable lesson in today’s world.
Unfortunately, death and loss tend to be swept under the rug, expectations set to “get over it” quickly and return to normal. You don’t get over grief, you move through it. Normal changed. You now have a new normal – without your loved one and it is up to you what you are going to do with it.
I could have gotten stuck in, I shoulda seen it coming, I shoulda done something about it, I coulda stopped him. And now, I could be frozen with he woulda’ been 30 today. His 30’s woulda’ been a big decade, leaving the 20’s behind, maturing, establishing relationships, and finding a career. Shoulda’ coulda and woulda’ are remorseful and longing feelings while reflecting on past decisions. Time is spent contemplating missed opportunities, unmade choices and lament for actions not taken. Combined, these create a kaleidoscope of regret.
Instead, I chose to live, love, and laugh in the present moment. After my son’s suicide, I spent a year blogging about my pain and journey of healing. I’ve written two books, speak on grief and healing and work with others who are suffering.
I exercise, eat well, keep a positive mindset, and connect with my Higher Power – God.
That, my friends, is how I created a new normal.
In the bigger picture of life, walking through grief is part of living well. For in grief, if not worked through, it can suck you into a deep sink hole, struggling to just survive. Thriving is not an option at this point. Let go of past regret. You can still remember your loved one, the good times and the love you have for them. Don’t let their death take your life away from you. They would want you to carry on, enjoy life and be happy. You get to decide how you will work through your grief, how you will live in the present and dream for the future.
#mentalmindset #survivor #helpingyoumoveforward #birthday #suicide
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