Surviving or Flourishing | Health, Love & Fire

Surviving or Flourishing

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

As I was driving to church on Easter morning, listening to some of my favorite worship songs, I realized this was the first time I would be back in that building since my father-in-law's funeral. At first thought, I was nervous and I started to feel a lump in my throat. But when I walked in the doors and saw familiar faces, I was instantly comforted and knew that he would have wanted us to be there to support his wife and to support this church family who became so important to him in the last few months.

Easter service was the first time that the church had not only a worship band, but also a choir. And in that choir, for the first time, stood my Mother-in-law and her sister. When she saw my father and I walk in the sanctuary, I could tell how important our presence was. Upon hearing that Dan was going to try his best to be here, even though he was working that day, her smile grew even more. It meant a lot to her that we gave her an hour of our day, and truthfully it meant more to me.

Listening to the sermon, it focused on whether you are surviving or flourishing. Is your goal to make it through the day, or is it to succeed and surpass your expectations? The pastor talked about going skiing, which he hadn't done in over 23 years. So on his first day out, it went well, he was alive, and he made it home. But was just making it home unharmed really experiencing what he wanted out of going skiing that day? His goal was to pick up this hobby he used to enjoy so that he could share those outings with his son and one day his grandkids. So on his second trip, he flourished, he picked it back up and really enjoyed his day.

When you loose someone in your life, you often times find yourself seeking answers and seeking closure. I know I've sought out both in the last five months. I found myself asking, what the purpose was for the timing or the grief we had to endure. Laying in bed at 3 in the morning, I relieve those 48 hours and the emotional highs and lows. Amazed by the support and love we have surrounding us, and overwhelmed by the sudden loss and difficult steps ahead. But through it all, I began to see the good out of the bad. I realized that this definitive part of my life not only brought forth love and support from amazing sources, but it brought our family closer together.

All families are different, this is something we can tell from an early age and frequently by just a brief observation. But it takes time and effort to learn the real differences immersed in each individual unit. My family is close. We like to laugh and joke around. My family is my rock and my support system. My family are huggers and criers. We are never go to bed mad, never leave the house without an I love you family. We are a game night, road trip, go for a hike together family. We are an express your feelings family. We are a be there to support each other family. A stick up for you, always have your back family. And the best family I could have ever picked family.

It wasn't until I got to know my new family in my husband's parents that I realized they weren't accustomed to the same level of feelings and emotions that I was raised with. And it wasn't until my father-in-law passed away that my mother-in-law and I really became closer. We got past the awkward place where our roles and purpose were undefined, and we got to a place where we were just able to be a support for each other. I look forward to the time ahead when our families become more unified. The last year, our holiday meals and celebrations started to merge and our relationships became stronger. And as we continue on with this new family dynamic, I hope that bond and those memories only continue to grow.

While I wouldn't want to relive the past few months or wish that any of it would happen again, I am thankful for the relationships it has helped build and the love and support it has fostered. I want to be successful and flourish, not only in my endeavors but also in my relationships.

Do you have relationships that are worth more time and effort? How could you change your day to day from surviving to flourishing?


  1. I can relate to this post for sure, wonderful open and honest post. I became very close to my step mom after mom dad passed away. People sometimes even think it's weird, but I love her dearly and I know we have a relationship that we both cherish dearly.

  2. Loss is certainly hard to understand. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you guys. It's certainly a good thing that both families were there for each other and through this you guys were able to make a deeper bond. There are definitely relationships in my life that I need to make more time for. I can think of two in particular. I grew up in a home that wasn't very open and lacked communication so I always kept everything to myself and basically learned to live alone (because that's how it felt). So reaching out to people isn't very easy for me. Although I'm learning if you value a person in your life, you will have to step out of your comfort zone and make an effort to reach them. It's worth it.

  3. What a beautiful post! I'm so sorry that it took something tragic to bring you and your MIL closer together but in a way it's special and beautiful. You are a blessing to that family! If you had not married her son, who knows what kind of grief she would be experiencing. I'm glad you're there for her!