Five Things I learned Through Grief

1. Every Moment Counts

Time is yours, you use it up how you want. I called my mom every day when I got off work. Not because I had something brilliant to share, nor because I was always in the mood to talk, but instead because you never know when the people you love the most will disappear from your life. I don't get to hear my mom's voice any more, feel her arms embrace me, or smell her nearly-famous pot roast. Every moment counts, don't take them for granted.

2. Re-Dream the American Dream

The American Dream is quite frankly a lie. It is built around being unsatisfied, being a consumer. It isn't built on dreams or hope or happiness. There is a point where truly you make enough money and no amount of money is worth being away from your family and friends. You don't need a new dishwasher if yours works. You don't need that new shirt when you have a closet full. That's not to say treating yourself isn't enjoyable, but keep it in perspective. If you have to work longer hours at a job you hate, is the money worth it? Could taking a lower paying job and being more modest with your money actually give you more time to enjoy life?

3. Find your Friends and Family Again

Reconnect with all your friends and family. When is the last time you saw them and made them a priority? Weeks? Months? Years? I let other factors determine when I could see my friends and family and suddenly I found myself realizing I only saw my family once a year at Christmas and I hadn't seen my best friend in almost two years. Find them again. They are so important to your support group, your happiness and your life. Surround yourself with them. They need you as much as you need them, I promise you that.

4. Happiness in Helping

I started writing the Bloodmark Saga and published Bloodmark in 2013, Bloodrealms in 2014 and the final exciting novel Bloodmoon will publish March 21, 2016. I wrote them because I needed to follow my passion, because I needed a place to hide from the reality of cancer, and because I knew there were young adults out there that needed my story of friendship and love. Of girl empowerment. It was a book the world needed so I wrote it. I didn't stop there, I have a children's book that will publish later this year that will help another group of kids with the subject of cancer. There is so much joy in helping others and frankly I think it comes from the human struggle that I couldn't save my mom, so I find peace in helping others.

5. Faith

I was always free-range faith. I didn't tie myself down to brick buildings or stained glass windows. I found my faith in the wind, in the trees and rocks; in all of nature. I know where I stand and what I believe, but a friend brought me to a church and I went reluctantly. What I found was a group of people that were like me, that didn't care where you came from or what mistakes you made before you walked in those doors. They were just happy you came. There was no judgement or fear or guilt. Just simple hope. I encourage you to find hope, find support, find your faith. They will help you find happiness and peace and to me that is the best kind of life.

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