What I Would Have Done Differently

I follow a few blogs by parents who have lost a child and I’m always in awe of the raw emotion that is shared by these parents and how their stories help all of us. I see a wide variety of scenarios that occurred in these parents lives and sometimes I am struck by how my own story could have been a little different had I known my daughter was not going to live to see her 18th birthday. What would I have done differently had I known.

I follow one particular dad who writes about his son Mitchell and their family’s journey of grief and knowing their son would eventually die from his disease. They had many opportunities to chronicle the everyday life of caring for their son and provided many experiences that eased his pain and I’m certain theirs. My story, my daughter Brittany’s story is different, but did it have to be. I don’t know. I perhaps was in denial that she could die from epilepsy. I knew life would not be “normal” like others but certainly I never thought she would die after having a seizure. I was wrong.

What would I have done differently? I would have taken more pictures of her. I would have hugged her more often. I would have captured our time together in a way that would have provided a story of her life in a way that I could have shared with you all. I would have tried harder – maybe if I knew….

That leads me to the next thought… We should live our lives as if we believed it would end any moment. We’d capture every day moments and make sure we chronicled the story to share with others. What I’m saying here is hug your kids often, spend more time with them, take pictures and videos of the good times and maybe the not so good times. Journal together about their childhood and teenage years. Teach them that they are the most important thing in your life.

What would I have done differently? I would have danced in the rain with her. I would have gone to Costa Rica with her on her mission trip. I would have allowed her to swing higher and laugh so hard our stomachs would hurt –well we really did that. I am so glad I do have some video and pictures of her. But I crave more. I want more. I long for more.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to make amends with your kids, your loved ones. Make more time to smell, touch, feel life. Write about it. Tuck it away so one day, you can tell them the stories of their childhood from the books and videos you took. Most of all spend time just being with them. Even when they are driving you crazy. I miss those times the most.

I did a lot of wonderful things over the years with my daughter, but it will never be enough to last my lifetime of missing her.

Until next time,

M

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