Category Archives: Loss

The Best Gift My Parents Ever Gave Me

I lost my mother 6 years ago and it has been 2 years since my dad passed away.  The holidays are the time of year when that loss is not easy to ignore.  Yet when Christmas rolls around I can honestly say that my feelings are more positive than negative due to an inexpensive gift my parents gave me long ago.

Growing up we didn’t have everything we wanted but we had everything we needed.  Looking back there is only one gift I remember getting that really stuck with me & that was my very first Nintendo Entertainment System.  The rest of the gifts just blur together into a giant heap of happy moments.

The gifts have faded from my memory but the times haven’t.  I remember watching  Christmas movies on Christmas eve.  We would all be huddled around each other, with the Christmas Tree in the corner, watching our favorite movies until late in the night.  I remember waking up way too early and running into my parents room waking them up.  I remember my mother always being the one to pass out gifts because she knew the exact order they needed to be passed out in.  I remember my father always doing a little dance every time he opened his gift from us & flashing a smile that still brings me warmth to this day.  I remember my mother making our Christmas meal while we all played with our new toys and despite the fact we were hungry, never wanting to stop playing with those toys long enough to eat.

I no longer have my Nintendo, despite how much I loved it at the time I ended up losing interest & moving on to other things.   All those gifts that I unwrapped all those years ago have either broke, been lost, or given away.  It was the gift my parents gave me that I didn’t have to unwrap that has stuck with me all these years, my Christmas memories.  I can still look back & feel just as secure and loved today as I did in those moments.  My mother & father may not physically still be here but every Christmas it feels like they are.  As I prepare for my wife & I’s first child to enter this world it’s my goal to give them the same thing.  The gift that never breaks, gets lost, or becomes obsolete.  A gift that will be with them long after I have left this earth.

So thanks mom & dad for the great memories……….and for that kick ass Nintendo Entertainment System.  I love you.

Follow me @TheTAWilliams

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The Return Of Pure Joy


I will admit that I used to sing along with music in my car. I also may have “moved” to the music. Not full on dancing mind you, but enough movement that someone in an adjacent car would be thoroughly convinced that I was either psycho or having a minor seizure. Those were the times that I was at my happiest. The singing and dancing wasn’t the cause it was the result. When everything was going great in my life I would lose myself to the moment acting a fool and singing along to a song that I probably hated. I bring this up because it had been over 5 years since the last time I had gotten lost like this.

The last time this happened I was on my way back home from college. I wasn’t heading home for the weekend but for my wife and I’s wedding and Honeymoon in good ole Disney World. This was also unfortunately the weekend I lost my mother and sister in a car accident. For those of you who have been following me for awhile this is already something I have blogged about. Things of course changed after that and I did a LOT of growing up shortly after.

I almost stopped listening to music entirely. The main reason initially was when I listened to music I couldn’t control my emotions. I never returned because it was only in moments of pure joy that I got lost and acted like an idiot. It wasn’t that I didn’t have my share of happy moments afterwards but for the first time in my life I had real problems that seemed to prevent me from achieving that pure I-don’t-care-if-I-look-like-an-idiot-or-lack-any-muscial-talent happiness.

Now I said at the beginning it HAD been 5 years since the last time I had done this. This last Monday I was driving home from work and realized that I was not only “moving” to the music but I was also butchering the song I was listening to on the radio. This just happened to be the same day my wife and I found out that the little creature growing in her belly is a BOY!!! When I realized what I was doing & why, I may have shed a tear or two 🙂

I can’t express in words how excited (and at the same time terrified) I am for this little guy to get into the world. I hope that I will be able to provide for him the same way my parents provided for me. I always regretted that I couldn’t pay my mother back for all she did for me, all the sacrifices she made. Yet if I was able to provide her with even one moment like the one I had this past Monday because of my future child, then maybe I already had. Having so much joy that your body can no longer contain it causing it to spew forward in the form of horrible car-dancing and singing is priceless.

So in summation if you drive past a Kia Forte that is emanating an unearthly sound & also happens to contain an individual convulsing uncontrollable, don’t call 911. That is just me being excited for my future son.

Follow me on twitter @TaureanWriter

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Remembering How To Get Lost

My parents owned a lot of land & as a kid one of my favorite things to do was wake up extra early (around 6 am) and go “exploring” with our dogs.  About a 1-2 minute walk away from their house was a large forest area that spanned around 9-10 acres & the dogs & I would get lost in it for hours at a time.  I felt like an explorer discovering new lands.  We created trails through the brush and found little “secret” places within.  I watched as the dogs hunted rabbits & squirrels and followed along as if I was actually helping (I was not). From the age of 10-13 this was my main form of entertainment.  Then, naturally, as I grew older I moved on to video games, tv, and of course girls.

When I lost my mom and sister, my wife & I moved back to this area to help my dad, and in return he gave us some of his land.  Before he passed we built a house on this land & I can see those same woods outside the window of my current home.  We have been here for over 3 years and for some reason my interaction with those woods have been limited to me staring at them from a distance, until today.

One of the things I do when I need inspiration for my writing or just need to clear my head is walking.  Today I needed some serious inspiration so the dog & I walked around our property and ended up finding ourselves outside of these same woods.  My dog spent a great deal of time running in & out of these woods while I walked on the outside with a huge smile on my face.   At some point she disappeared deep into the woods & I couldn’t see her anymore.  I got as close to the outlying trees as possible, without actually going into the woods, and tried to find her but couldn’t.  Now I wasn’t worried because she can take care of herself but I realized just how ridiculous I was being.  These were the same woods I used to spend hours running through as a kid & I was pretending there was some kind of force-field stopping me from walking past a certain distance.

Sure there were trees and bushes that were, seemingly, blocking my entrance but somehow as a kid I was able to get past them.  If I brushed past the bushes and trees it was possible I may get a scratch or two from a branch or thorn, it was also possible that whatever clothing I had on would get a little dirty, but as a kid it didn’t matter.  So I went in.  After over a decade those trails and “secret” places were still there.  They hadn’t left, I had.  For the next hour or so I returned to “exploring” and helping/hurting my dog as she attempted to chase down a couple of rabbits.

 

The point of this blog is that today I realized I had created a barrier.  There was something that was still possible to do but over the years my brain had been hot-wired into believing it wasn’t.  For those few hours I remembered how to get lost in the woods all over again.  I wasn’t thinking about bills, or work, or writing.  For those few hours I remembered how it used to be when I still had my mother, father, and sister.  When I could go exploring for hours and when I was tired I came home where my only worry was my mom telling me to clean my home, and  my dad yelling at me for avoiding my mother because I didn’t want to clean my room.  For those few hours it still seemed possible that when I came home my brother would be fighting with my sister, and I would be trying to force them to come outside with me and play basketball or football.  As a child I knew how to live in the present.  Whereas now so much of my time is spend planning for the future, and at times being weighed down by the past.

This is not a sad post, this is actually a happy one.  Those great memories are just like those trails and secret places.  They were still there.  They hadn’t left, I had.  Today I remembered how to get lost, to live in the moment and let the past melt away around me.

My demand to all my blogger friends out there is that you go do something that was once possible, but you now believe isn’t.  Return to a point in time in your life where the only thing that matters is that moment, even if that’s as long as it lasts.

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Missing What Could Have Been

This blog has given me the ability to write about some of the tough times I’ve had in the past.  And those that have read these posts & replied with encouragement have meant the world to me, so thank you.

In a prior post I talked a little about when I lost my mother in a car accident and what she meant to me.  What I didn’t talk about was the fact that my little sister was also in the car when this happened and didn’t make it.  This is a subject that is harder to write about so bear with me 🙂

My sister was seven years younger then me (I believe she was 17 years old @ the time), and that age difference meant that we didn’t have a lot of time together.  It sounds strange to say that as we did have 17 years together but that time consisted of us being kids and then myself being a teenager, which meant every waking moment was dedicated to my own needs and desires.  So when I say we didn’t have a lot of time together I mean that we didn’t get to have the relationship that I believe we were on the cusp of creating.

My sister and I were actually a lot alike.  Both very much into sports, reading, and writing.  Both shy & almost debilitatingly insecure.  I have memories of her and my other younger brother (5 year difference) outside playing football, basketball, baseball, or just jumping on a trampoline for hours at a time.

The reason I titled this post, Missing What Could Have Been, is that right before I lost her I began to realize all the ways we were alike.  I was finishing up college at the time but the last few times I visited I had actual conversations with her.  Not the “picking on the lil sis” type of conversations but adult conversations.  I had realized she was much better at sports then I was, better at school, and even though she looked up to me at that time, chances were I would soon be looking up to her for everything she was about to accomplish.  So when I lost her I ended up losing the chance to watch a beautiful girl grow into an amazing woman.  But most of all I lost someone who was probably going to end up being my best friend.

I lost her nearly 6 years ago and I still struggle with that to this day.  I will never know what we could have had, but I know what we did have.  I had a talented sister that looked up to me & loved me very much.  A sister that could look at me and make me believe I could do no wrong. She knew that I loved her and I know that she loved me.  I will always miss what could have been, but I am eternally grateful for every single day I was given with her.

To My Sister, Tabitha Danielle, I love you and miss you.

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The Main Character…….me

So I guess this is the part of the story where you are supposed to get to know the main character? The point in the story where the author gives you a reason to be interested in them so that he/she can eventually get you to care about them? Well I will be the first to admit that I am NOT a very interesting main character but since you are reading this blog I might as well give you my motivation.

When I was younger my mother and I didn’t always get along. Later in life I came to realize it was because we were so much alike. When I was younger I made a point to do everything she told me not to do, and not to do everything she told me to do.  So needless to say we butted heads more often then not. Yet a funny thing happened as I was going through middle school, my mother and I started to read together. I’m not talking the “kid laying in bed, while mommy sits nearby and reads out loud” type of thing, more the book club type of reading together. She would read a great book and tell me all about it & I would quickly pick it up as soon as she was finished and read it as well. Then followed a very excited recap of why we did or did not like the book. Before we knew it the butting of heads subsided and we dove into the same fictional worlds together.

When I began writing seriously in college she was very supportive and openly excited. I will admit that I would give her tidbits of what my story was about but I refused to let her read it until it was completed. I used to day-dream about one day surprising her with a fully bound book, authored by me of course, that had just been published. Inside the cover it would be dedicated to her, she would read it, love it, and then discover that it was already a best seller. I would then go on to inform her that she didn’t have to work all the time, could go to college and live the life she had always dreamed.

My mother was killed in a car accident before I graduated college.

To summarize in words what she meant to me is next to impossible. There is a chance that I will one day blog about all the challenges that faced me after that incident, but this blog is about my motivation. I set my book to the side for quite awhile after that. Partly because of the challenges I faced after wards but also because it was a little too painful. I love to tell stories but my biggest motivator was to write a story that my mother would love. To show to her that all the time we spent reading together, all the lessons she taught me, all the sacrifices she made for me, were worth it.

So why do I write now? The desire to tell stories never left, but more importantly because I know she would still want me to. Sure I cannot see the look on her face as she sees that cover or reads that dedication, sure I can’t sit down with her and discuss what she did & did not like, and sure I cannot swoop in and give her the opportunity to do all the things that she put off for us; but I can still make her proud. I can still fulfill that part of me that loves to tell stories and share different experiences with others, that same part of me that she helped to create & nurture.

So what is my motivation? Her.

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The Evolution Of Loss

I just finished a book that I have somewhat mixed feelings about, I don’t want to name the book because what I’m going to discuss would kinda spoil it.  The thing that I enjoyed about the story is that towards the end the main character lost someone he/she loved and the novel followed him/her for a couple of years after that loss, and showed how he/she coped with it.

Now unfortunately I have lost a few individuals in my life that I love deeply and was very close to.  Even if you haven’t ever lost someone close to you I am sure you have watched a movie that shows the immediate aftermath when someone dies.  Everyone sad, hugs given out, support shown, crying ensues, etc, etc.  Now the thing that is not always touched on is what it is like the months and years following that loss.  In my case there was an accident where I lost two family members and the initial struggle was simply trying to wrap my brain around what had happened, then the chaos of setting up the funeral.  Skip to 5 years later and I have learned how to live my life while at the same time appreciating what those individuals meant to me.  In movies you usually see the 1st part and then it skips ahead to the last part, but I think the most difficult part was the stuff in between.

Someone told me shortly after that you have to find a “New Normal” and that seems spot on.  In the years in between when I was happy it never reached the same heights of my pre-loss happiness.  At times it really did seem like I was merely going through the motions.  There was almost a numbness to life shortly after that.  I never searched for meaning in life before the loss, but that was all I could do after.  The same memories that used to give me such joy seemed to do nothing but cause me pain & heart ache.  Yet as time passed joy returned to those memories, pictures no longer caused me to turn away, and certain songs no longer caused me to jump across the room to turn off the radio.  I wish it could have been like a movie where within an hour I had dealt with my demons and become a better person, but as anyone who has lost someone knows it is not that short.

Even now I find it near impossible to describe in words which is why I feel the author did such a great job presenting the emotions through the main character.  I felt the characters struggle and more importantly he/she didn’t live happily-ever-after and have the story fade to black with a little Disney logo hovering above it.  You never truly get over the pain of losing someone, it is a everyday battle.  As time goes past the battles are not as often and are not as brutal, but it is not something that ever goes away.
Again I do not want to spoil the book so I will just give you the name of the author, David Nicholls.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. – Kahlil Gibran

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