I am told the older you get. the more you forget. Is this true or even possible? I mean we have all forgotten where we put our phone, what day it is after a long weekend and even sworn we told our husband that important bit of information we were thinking. Right? I know I have done all of those things at one time or another. I don’t remember being as forgetful in my younger years. Now, at the age of 49 it is more than just a Post-it note here and there. It is the ability to remember and process things the way I did in the past.

For me this did not start until after I lost my son, Tyler, in a car accident on August 23, 2013. I remember this so well, it was a week after the funeral that I ventured out to Wal-Mart with a small list of things. Once I got into the store, I realized I could not remember where to find some of the items. It was at this point that I had no desire to ask or energy to search. So I just left with the few things I could come up with. Was this forgetfulness from old age or trauma from losing a child?

You see I believe our memory is a gift of all the special moments, not so great moments and really terrible moments in our life. I am curious and amazed how our minds work. Our minds collect all of those moments, categorize them, and then file them in the backs of our minds. Once that is done, our minds will bring them to the surface as they see fit. Many times they spring up when we least expect them.

Since Tyler’s accident, I have realized as much as I want to delete some memories. I CAN NOT. I have to weave through all the memories, especially the vivid ones from the night of the accident. As crazy as it sounds, I feel as though I received a gift from God as he planned out that night. I feel blessed to have been with my husband as he held Tyler. I know for a fact there are countless others who did not get to say goodbye, to say I love you or just hold their child. The gift that I received that night I try to unwrap cautiously to endure the pain and heartbreaking memories that come with it.

As much as I want to forget, there is a part of me that cannot. You see, if I forget the bad, I will also forget the good. All the precious memories after Tyler was born, his raggedy old cowboy hat he wore all the time, his amazing smile; when I close my eyes I can hear his voice as if it were yesterday and pray I will never forget his one-of-a-kind laugh that would always make me smile. Oh, I remember it all. As the years pile up since his accident, it scares me that my memory will fail to keep all of my treasures perfectly categorized in my head. There are still days when I process a normal, everyday situation or planning a detailed event that I am not as sharp or on-point like I was before the accident. I attribute this to the loss of a child, not old age. I believe our minds do not work the same.

I have realized all the memories I have been given are gifts from God. So as I sit here writing this, I am reminded that I am still alive! I still have an abundance of precious memories, memories that will strengthen me, and some heartbreaking that encourage me to keep telling my story. I thank God for all of them! My story is not over and I cannot image what lies ahead, but I know each day is a gift and we must live it as if it is our last. For today’s moments are tomorrow’s memories.

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.