I can remember the day after my son Tyler’s accident very well. It was 7:30 AM and the first car raced into our driveway. I know they were hoping this was all a bad dream and Tyler was sound asleep in his room. Unfortunately, it was the beginning of a nightmare for many. Our house became packed with people wanting to help, some knowing exactly what to say and others just needing a hug with no words at all. Their hearts were aching, they were confused and needed support just like us. It was during this time that I let go of my control and let my friends and family help. It really doesn’t matter who does the dishes, how the clothes are folded or who sweeps the floor. It is more important that it gets done. I learned so much during this time.  I learned people just want to help because no one knows the right words to say or how to say them. But they get comfort in what they do best. It may be cleaning, cooking or just being there to help.

I also remember someone telling me my grief journey will be like no one else’s. They said that some people like having a house full of friends and family like we had days after the accident. Others want to talk about it and try to understand, but some want to be alone to grieve in the quietness of their room. As I look back that is exactly how it was with my family. My daughter was younger and was with friends her age. I’m sure she heard what we were talking about but, she was not fully processing it like we were having been at the accident scene. My oldest son stayed in his room and didn’t come up from the basement much at all. His friend had to go to him. My husband didn’t like being around people either and preferred to stay in our room to deal with his loss that way. I was the one who greeted the people who came in and sat and talked. I wanted to be around others. It is so true everyone grieves differently. There’s no road map to tell what way your grief will lead you or how you will handle it. Just know it is OK to feel the things you feel and deal with it the way God made you.

We personally grieve differently and our bodies react to it differently. Grief causes our bodies to go through physical pain, emotional pain and mental pain. I remember feeling like I was having a heart attack. I will never forget that intense pain as if my heart was breaking into a million pieces. Later I found out that feeling was from losing a child. I still have an ache in my heart and I don’t know if it will ever go away. People say it becomes less but sometimes I don’t want it to become less. If it becomes less and goes away I’m afraid I may be forgetting him.

I remember this advice the most. It was from a mom who lost her son. She said to listen to your body. When you are tired – sleep.  When you are sad – cry and when you feel like you can’t go on seek God. She said it’s important to take time to grieve. If you keep going at a fast pace, holding in the tears, and not talking, t hen one day grief will slap you in the face. She said it will knock the life out of you.

The best way to deal with grief is day by day. Remember there is no road map or time frame, just go through it. I have found the best way that I handle grief is with my family, good friends and God. My hope is that by reading about my grief journey, that it help you go through yours, one day at a time seeking God.

Missy Hillmer

My name is Missy Hillmer. I’m married, live in a small town named Palmer, NE and have 3 children. Jake is our oldest who is 19 years old and Gracie is 11 who lives here with us. Tyler which was 15 years on August 20, 2013 is now in Heaven. He was killed in a car accident just 3 short days after his 15th birthday. I am very honest, very real sometimes to the point of not being fun, I guess that’s because I’m a black and white kind of girl. I like to look at the positive in every situation. I really believe there are two ways to look at things. Look for the bad or the good. The “bad” does me no justice and can spiral out of control in a heartbeat. The “good” however gives me hope and it connects with my belief that God is with me through everything. I believe my faith has gotten me through life and especially since my son’s accident. I pray a lot more, watch for the signs that God gives me, listen to my inner gut feeling, as my husband calls it and really focus on living a simple life. Family means everything to me, I love to laugh and think it’s the best medicine for any problem. Music soothes my sole and being outside in the sun brings me great joy! I have learned that many times you cannot control the storm in your life but, you can learn to dance in the rain. I really mean it when I say DANCE in the RAIN! The summer before Tyler’s accident, Tyler, Gracie & I danced in the rain. This memory I will never forget! Since Tyler’s accident I am passionate about telling my story with the hope that it will help or inspire at least one person.