Springtime is upon us, along with all the excitement of new growth, new life, and new beginnings.  But spring doesn’t hold such new hope and life for everyone.  Those who have endured the death of a loved one don’t always welcome the new seasons.

My son died in mid-winter, so when spring came around, I scoffed at all of the new beginnings around me.  It’s easy to get caught up in feelings of anger, resentment, and isolation.  But it’s much harder to embrace change, learn from it, grow from it, and make a new normal.

For me, it took time, understanding, time, patience, time, and more time to enjoy spring again (do you see a pattern here?).  Time doesn’t necessarily “heal” all wounds, but it does lessen their sting.  It leaves behind scars that remind us of the battles we have fought and won.  It lets us know that we can be stronger than we ever thought possible.  I wear my scars proudly, knowing that I have come out of my experiences a changed—but better — person than I was before.

This spring, I challenge you to try and see the new life transpiring around you in a new light.  Find one thing—a budding flower, a new baby animal, a leaf growing on a bare tree—and focus on the beauty.  Focus on and see that new life as a sign that your loved one is thriving on the other side.

In every new life, I see my precious angel, Connor.  Yet, it wasn’t always that way.  I used to turn away from nature and new beginnings, but now I focus on the positive influence my son’s life had on all those around him.  I try to focus on the constructive instead of the harmful. 

We all have good days and bad days, but I find that as I embrace the changes around me, my good days outnumber the bad.  You, too, can get to this point.  Know that you are stronger than you realize, and that you can rise above the calamities that befall you—rising up a better person than you ever thought possible.

Amy C. Maddocks 2011

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Amy C. Maddocks

Amy Maddocks

As an author, educator, wife, and mother, Amy Maddocks learned firsthand about the grief and trials one experiences when losing a child when her son, Connor, died. More than 120,000 children die each year in the United States alone, and of those, more than eighty percent die before their first birthday. Grief-stricken families, friends, and communities are overwhelmed by the unexpected experience of such loss. Usually, they don’t know how to cope or how to make a life without that special person in it. One of Amy’s purposes in life is to help those families make a wonderful life after such a tragedy. Amy published a book about child loss, called "Too Precious For Earth." It reads like a novel but assists like a self-help book. Part of her goal with the book has been to spread the word that there are many bereaved parents surrounding us every day, and people need to understand what the parents go through and what they need to heal. It not only is a great book for anyone who has suffered a loss, but also for those who want to be enlightened and uplifted. Amy currently lives in Okinawa, Japan, teaching school to military children.  She graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and is currently progressing toward her Masters in Learning and Technology.  She is a free-lance writer for CNN Travel, Okinawa Hai Magazine, the Open to Hope Foundation, and Venture Magazine. Amy is a volunteer with many organizations, both online and in her local community. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Amy enjoys outdoor activities such as geocaching, camping, four-wheeling, rafting, and pretty much anything to do with the outdoor world. She also enjoys digital scrapbooking and helping others.

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