Do you ever feel like life is like a roller coaster? I do! I think it is a lot like a roller coaster, but it does not stop—it continues on for a lifetime. When you are on a roller coaster there are times that you go up hills really, really slowly, around curves, and then quickly plunge down huge hills to the bottom of a valley. From there you may continue on at a safe pace with no sudden jolts for a long time and all of a sudden you start over again. Up, down and around . . . just like a roller coaster. The only thing that is different is at the end of the roller coaster ride you get off and go back to your normal life. However, on the “life roller coaster” the only way you are getting off is at the end of your life. So I ask you, are you ready for the end of the ride? If you never made it back home today would you be OK with your life as it is?

You see, my life was changed in the blink of my eye on Friday, August 23, 2013. My son Tyler who had just turned 15 three short days earlier was headed out. I have never had to worry about Tyler. He was the type of kid who was just fine staying home if he wanted to and didn’t cave to peer pressure. So when he asked to go I had no worries, because he had to be home in 30 minutes. I mean what bad could happen in 30 short minutes?

It was getting close to the time he should be heading our way and I noticed headlights coming in the distance. From where we live on a hill we can always see lights at night but never know if they are coming up our road or turning until the lights get bigger. These head lights were small and far away. It wasn’t until the 30 minutes turned into 40 minutes, into an hour and many unanswered calls and texts later that we knew something was wrong. I started thinking back to the headlights I saw and how they did not continue up our road or turn. They disappeared! They were gone. Just like Tyler . . . he was gone. How is it possible in 30 minutes this could happen?

Once you have lost a child you feel like you are on a constant roller coaster ride that never stops. You wish you could catch your breath, have a minute to refocus and figure out what just happened. But life never gives us that. We have to learn to take the time for ourselves and figure out what works for us to heal and slow that life roller coaster down.

I have learned many valuable life skills from Tyler’s accident. The big thing I have learned is that life DOES NOT stop. It goes FAST! And it can be taken away from you in a blink of an eye. I have learned that we cannot leave anything undone—say what you need to say, write down your inner feeling to be passed on and live a life only you can live. It seems in this day and age we think we are invincible and that we will always have tomorrow. But in all reality, tomorrow may never come. We must live in the moment . . . today. Live today as if it’s the last day of your life. Find the urgency to do what you love, or maybe do something you have never done. Find your passion.

I want to follow the plan God has for me so that when I get to Heaven I will Him whisper in my ear: Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” Matthew 25:23

I know for a fact I don’t want to hear Him saying: I placed so many opportunities in front of you why did you settle for so little?

I want to be the warrior He created me to be. I want to use all the weapons and tools He has equipped me with to fight His battles and take hold of every opportunity He puts in my path.

I want to live my life to the fullest every single day, as if it is my last. I want to use this life-changing loss of my son Tyler to make me stronger and more courageous, with no reservations,  and leave nothing on the table. I want to ride that roller coaster ride knowing when my last day comes I will be ready and with my last breath say “Master, my job is done.”  

Missy Hillmer

Missy Hillmer is a writer, photographer, wife, mother, creative lady whose mind is constantly on the go. She loves coffee, dark chocolate especially with nuts, music soothes her soul and being outside in the sun recharges her body. She has an angel in Heaven. Her faith is what gets her through each day. Since her son Tyler’s accident she is passionate about telling her story with the hope that it will help or inspire at least one person who has lost a child.