I lost someone, my son Kyle. He was the first. The first child, the first grandchild, the first nephew, he was special. He was loved by far more people than I ever realized and in his death I held a bigger appreciation for who he was as a person and he most certainly made me proud.
People from far and wide wrote stories on his Facebook Memorial page. Over nine years later, there is still close to 1,000 people on that page. Teachers told stories of how he influenced them as a teacher, friends wrote how he influenced their decisions in life...how could you not be proud.
I was sad, very sad. Your children aren't supposed to die before you. Our whole family’s hearts were torn to pieces, but we picked those pieces up. We don't dwell on death, we celebrate his life with much joy. Every year on the anniversary of his death, we celebrate together. Even if it was only for 23 years. He lived.
Should I stay sad? What good would that do? Would that be what my son would want? Of course not. I had a business to run, a family to be strong for and a multitude of his friends who were looking to me for guidance. They'd never lost someone so close to them, a friend.
Who's happy if I'm sad? Would it make my family happy to see me wallowing in my loss? People die.
Just read the tragic stories of other peoples losses. We're not special.
Our loss is no easier or harder than their loss.
You can't change what happened and I'll guarantee you that your loss will change you. But you have a choice on where that loss takes you, how it changes you. You have a choice to be happy, to see the joy in the life that was, not the sorrow in the life that isn't.
We have a song in his memory, Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane. When that song comes on, sometimes at the most poignant times, we celebrate. We smile, we turn it up and we sing along. We feel the joy of the opportunity to think of my son, smile and be happy.
Who's happy if you're sad?
Yvonne Heath is a Canadian leader, Inspirational Speaker, Blogger, Television Host, Author and Creator of the #IJustShowedUp campaign.