Family/Motherhood/Military Life

What I Learned Through Experiencing Loss: Using the Hard Times to Create Better Times

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What I Learned Through Loss

That’s how the last few weeks have gone by. In a flash!

You may have noticed, I have been MIA for the past 2 weeks. My father-in-law passed away and we traveled back to the mainland for the funeral and to be with family.

Not only did this time fly by, it was also a roller coaster of emotions.

Happy. Sad. Lost. Loved. Hurt. Proud. Warm (well not physically but emotionally my heart was warm! Texas was much cooler than Hawaii!)

With 23+ years of service, my father-in-law was Retired from the Air Force. Having his funeral on Veterans Day week was very emotional in and of itself. It almost felt as if the whole country was mourning our loss as well. Everywhere we looked, there were flags hung high. And, we even got treated to some free Veterans Day coffee (which you KNOW gave me a reason to smile! ha) It was a beautiful service and I feel it really captured the man that he was and served as a wonderful tribute to him.

My husband asked his dad to wear his Air Force uniform to his Chief Pinning Ceremony back in 2007. It was so special to Steven for his dad to do this for him.

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Steven returned the favor and wore his Navy Dress blues in his fathers honor at the funeral which put tears to my eyes (and many others). Having him by my side while he stood at attention to his father tugged at my heart in a way I’ve never experienced.

I’ve only seen my husband cry once or twice in the 10 years I’ve known him. Through this whole experience of cancer diagnosis until the funeral, he remained pretty quiet about it all. He’s not one to share his emotions openly (yep-hard to believe MY husband wouldn’t be one to share openly. I think I do enough for the both of us!) However, at the end of the burial I watched him walk up to the lowered casket. He knelt down and began sobbing. Sobbing! His brother and I then joined in.

It’s a moment I will never forget.

The emotions just came pouring out. At that moment, I knew we would be okay because we finally let it all out. We were surrounded by family who we shared the same emotions with and were able to draw strength and comfort from one another. Up until then, I was an ocean apart from that comfort which was really hard. I spoke about that in my last post: Loss: A Tribute to My Father In-Law. I relied on my faith which is what got me through this emotional season. God gave me the strength I needed. Where would I have been without God’s strength?

Eventually, we returned to Hawaii. Back to “normal.” Back to the place that brings me peace. Hawaii is said to be healing and I couldn’t agree more!

I’ve spent the last week trying to go about my “busy mom” life while I was still adjusting to these new feelings Steve’s death made present in my life. I have a new outlook on life thanks to him!

I’ve always said I wanted to “live like there’s no tomorrow.” In fact, I have a workout tank that says that! But, until you witness death up close, I feel those words are just simply words. Having gone through this experience, I have an even higher value placed on life. And, I don’t just mean the adventures I share with y’all through this blog. I think we all have a sort of “bucket list” of things we’d like to do or places we’d like to travel to. This was always the focus of my “live like there’s no tomorrow” life-to experience all there is to experience!

My father-in-laws death has made me dig deeper into that saying. It’s reminded me to place more value in the relationships I have. Life is about relationships. I received so much comfort from those in my family. I think part of “living like there’s no tomorrow,” means nurturing those relationships we care most about. 

So, in “living like there’s no tomorrow,” I am going to do better about making those phone calls to friends and family far away. I’m going to do more than just “like” my friends’ Facebook pictures. I’m going to take that time to comment more like I already do to you-my bloggers.

In my effort to focus more on the relationships around me, I had 2 different coffee dates in my home this week with my girlfriends. It was simply time for us to get together and talk. No distractions. No agenda. Just time together. I did the same with a long phone call to my step-mom where we just chatted. I also gathered up and got ready to mail pictures to my grandparents and immediate family. (If you’re reading this family, act surprised when they come! ha) I also reached out to my mother-in-law. Next up, grandma!

Being a military family, I’ve tended to seek out the “surface” friendships because I know they are temporary to that duty station.

It’s hard to open up and be vulnerable to someone you know will only be in your life for a short season.

I have gained some “forever” friends at each duty station. But, the majority of them are for a season. I’m okay with that. That’s normal for military life.

However, after this particular change of perspective gifted to me by my father-in-law, I’m going to change this mindset a little. We have about a year left here in Hawaii (maybe a little longer). One of the best friends I have ever had is moving back to the mainland in a few weeks. We’ve only known each other 2 years. I KNOW we are forever friends even in that short period of time. It shows it’s possible. It’s going to break my heart when she leaves, but I don’t know how I would’ve survived these past 2 years of constant deployments without her by my side. I’m going to open my heart up a bit more to the possibility of having more “forever” friends like her within our last year here and I’m going to try to be that person for someone else too! Relationships are worth it!

I thank God daily for the strength He has given me to overcome various obstacles. His everlasting love was proven yet again through the death of my father-in-law.

Through Him, I have found the strength it takes to move past the hurt and pain and to do what I always strive to do-find the best in even the hardest of situations. I can feel Gods presence as He’s telling me to use this experience to better my life and those around me. It’s drawn me closer to Him and He’s telling me to use it to draw closer to my friends and family as well.

Thank you all for your kind words and for understanding my need to take a short break from blogging. I am back. I’m ready to continue on! As always, thank you for your continuous support!

What I Learned Through Loss

With Love and Aloha,



Daily Word Prompt: Particular

Featured Blog Posts:

Loss: A Tribute to My Father In-Law

Coffee: The Good, The Bad…The Ugly

A Simple Compliment Goes A Long Way


15 thoughts on “What I Learned Through Experiencing Loss: Using the Hard Times to Create Better Times

  1. Lacy, there is so much insight in this post. Military life is so unique and I am not sure people really get that friendship part. You did an eloquent job at putting it into words as you often do. Continued prayers for you and your husbands family. And shout out to you for being the most wonderful example of a military spouse, and human being for that matter. Honored to know you here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re going to make me cry! Thank you so much for these sweet words. Military life really is so unique. It puts a new perspective on holidays and family time too. I overheard a girl in the airport complaining about having to go to an aunts house for Thanksgiving this year and how “horrible” it was going to be to see everyone. I bit my tongue. But, I wanted to simply tell her how much I would give to have my family at my Thanksgiving table. It was a quiet Thanksgiving with only me and the kids this year. I think too many times, people take those family gatherings for granted. Now, I look at my kids experiencing Christmas without daddy and it breaks my heart. But, it just makes those moments we ARE together as a family even more special. I will NEVER take it for granted. It is my hopes through blogging to make people aware of those sacrifices military families face and to make it something they don’t take for granted for themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. yes. All so true. I always think those thoughts when I hear people say “I just need a break or I need to get away”. I know, very well those words don’t exist in your vocabulary. Well, even if you think them, you know there are higher priorities. I know you will still make Christmas fun for you and the kids, especially since it might be your last one in Hawaii. We spent our share of holidays apart, and think it made my and my daughters that much closer. One year our welcome home sign listed every holiday beginning with Veterans Day and with through New Years which included and anniversary. Another year my husband was due home a week after Christmas and my daughter who was 6 wrote Santa a letter asking if he could deliver after got home so he wouldn’t miss it. Imagine the magic when we arrived home from getting him, and Santa, had indeed, received the note and made sure the house reflected it. Hang in there. You are amazing. Keep on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this. You’re so encouraging. I love the idea of having the sign list every holiday they missed. We’d have several this time around! I’m still getting used to being allowed to do the sign. His last submarine it wasn’t allowed because everything was secret. We didn’t have homecomings or anything which made the transition harder. This submarine is a little different so we can have celebrations which is great!
      I completely agree that it makes me closer to the kids. I feel we lean on each other for strength so much, it would be hard to NOT be really close.
      What a sweet letter your daughter left Santa. A stressful as that Christmas was, I bet it was one of her favorites and she’ll never forget that moment!

      Liked by 1 person

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