Well, here we are. November 7th.
It's hard to believe Brad has been gone a year today. Every day can have it's own challenge, but this particular day has been in my mind...it's been my goal...my finish line. The night that Brad died, I vividly remember telling myself that if I can just make it to see the sunrise - I was going to be okay. I stayed awake all night (and many many nights after that), just looking out the window and waiting for the sun to appear. I made it. Then I set a goal to survive the funeral. Made it. One week-Two weeks...One month...Two months...Three months......and finally, make it through a full year.
I've learned so much - about myself, my faith, friends and family. There have been so many tears that I think I have maxed out a lifetime limit. There has also been so much joy and appreciation for this life - I'm blessed to be here, and I will never forget that.
Here's the deal. I do not pretend to have this figured out, but I do know I have gained some wisdom that it could have taken me a lifetime to learn. Do I screw up every single day? - absolutely, but this is what I know:
- Faith in Jesus is everything. You without a doubt CAN DO ALL THINGS through Christ who gives you strength. In Him you find peace, rest, and the best part....everlasting life. Every time I tried to do things my way - I crashed and burned. And when I finally decided to hand over my decisions, thoughts, fear and heartache to the Lord - I could see hope and a future.
- Live YOUR life. You answer to one person and one person only - GOD. People will always have their own ideas of who you should be and how you should act, and they will judge the hell out of you. Guess what? It doesn't matter. My entire life I was convinced there was a certain order of how things should be done and how I should go about life. You know....go to college, get married, buy a house, have kids and so on. Well you know what...that's lovely and all, but it's not reality. Keep it simple - God's got a plan for each and every one of our lives - it's all different...so stop getting all worked up when things don't go your way - and just enjoy the ride.
- It's about relationships - not stuff. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't see just how amazing my family and friends are. I still haven't sat down to thank everyone personally for all they've done for me. Phone calls, letters, care packages in the mail, hugs, and prayers....my goodness -what a blessing. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone that has reached out to me. I know a simple thank you is a bit lame, and it will never do justice, but please know that's what has helped me make it this far. Your encouragement kept me moving forward. So this is what I'm getting at. When you hit a wall - rock bottom, stuff isn't going to be there to help you up...and it won't even comfort you. Make it a point to invest in your relationships with friends and family - every single day.
Brad's parents had a beautiful grave marker made and I think they did a great job capturing some fond memories of Brad....Dallas is even on there with his big ol' tongue sticking out as usual. It's not out at the cemetery yet, but should be before the end of this year. The background is from pictures of some of our hikes through the Tennessee mountains. I think Brad would like this.
I know a lot of people are hurting today especially, and I know Brad could have never understood the hurt and severe pain that he left behind for all of us to face. He wouldn't have wanted that. I miss him everyday - and I'll always hold on to the great memories we shared. I have hope that I will see that sweet smile of his again one day. And oh what a day that will be.
I'm wrapping up http://www.bradandaliciahatton.blogspot.com/. I appreciate all of you that have been kind enough to actually read my rantings over the past several years, and follow me through the most difficult time in my life. I'm so thankful that I've had this blog to document the last couple years of Brad's life, and to keep friends and family posted this past year. I've had some encouragement to keep blogging, and I have thought of starting a new blog. To be honest, I'm on the fence about it. If you have an opinion either way, let me know :) If I start a new blog I'll post the new web address on here and facebook. Thanks again.