I have always thought that the song “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry was a tad morbid. I couldn’t wrap my mind around why someone would waste their precious youth thinking about death. But, if I am honest, I have thought a lot about death too.
I won’t lie to you, when I was in elementary school I was a but of a hellion. I got suspend from school for stealing and sending inappropriate emails to teachers. I was almost to the point of explosion. I of course could make up reasons as to why this was, I came from a broken home, my dad had a crazy girlfriend, and my mom moved my brother and I into her boyfriends house who happened to have a lot of kids and owned a Harley (He is my stepdad now and I love him dearly as a side-note). But in the end all of that is just excuses. The truth is that we were all born into this world with a clean slate and then life begins. You make choices and people around you make choices that affect who you are but in the end those choices shape who you are now.
When I was eleven something happened that shaped my life forever, I lost my dad in a horrible accident. It was sudden, unexpected, and awful.
I often start to think about what my life would have been like if my parents stayed married and my dad never died. What would that have looked like and who would I have been? But then just as suddenly as those thoughts unleash in my mind I remind myself that my life may have been hard but it was the perfect life for me. I have learned and grown so much over the years but I know that the turning point in fixing my bad behavior was after my dad passed. Now, I realize that for awhile I went the exact opposite and tried to become the perfect child until I realized that perfection doesn’t exist and all I ever could be was me.
I remember a conversation I had with my dad after he found out I had to repeat the forth grade, he told me simply “You are better then this and you can do better.” I was angry with him at the time because it was hard enough being held back without having your dad being upset with you too. But, I remember those words every time I find myself questioning who I am. I know that I changed and became someone worth being because of his advice. Advice that stuck with me long after death.
Before I was married I dated this guy for a couple of years. I even promised I would marry him. At that point in my life I was just over one hundred pounds, bullied at school, and had no self respect. Most of the people around me at that time could see how toxic this relationship was for me but I couldn’t see the ugly until long after we broke up. Now, I won’t go into all the details of our breakup because it is a long story. But, I will say that along with my faith in God and feeling his nudge to end things I heard my fathers voice, “You can do better then this.” and it gave me the strength to walk away.
I know this comes off as a little irrational but it is what keeps me sane. Knowing that I have a God above who takes care of me and also knowing that my dad is up there watching over me too.
I used to write these letters to my dad, shove then in a helium ballon and let it fly into the sky. These letters consisted of my hopes and dreams and asking for his help. After awhile I stopped sending those letters because my heart moved on and I no longer needed to send those letters. I don’t remember everything I ever wrote in the letters but I do know that he answered me because I have pretty good life and I am chasing after my dreams.
So I guess it isn’t morbid to think about death when your young because death is just as much a part of life as life is.