Destiny: Realizing Not Everything Dies With Our Loved Ones

Author: Elizabeth Rozier

I know it’s hard for many of us to imagine a world outside of our injured heart. The hole created by the death of our loved ones becomes the central focus of everything. The way we react, think, dream, etc. all centers around that injury.  While I will never stop telling people about my brother I have made a conscious effort this year to not let that steer my conversations with people. I still find myself talking about “my brother who died in Iraq in 2003.” That’s probably my most used phrase, but it shouldn’t be. 

Rozier headstone

Why do I focus on his death rather than the way he lived? Was the death so traumatic that I can’t remember his life? Either way, I decided that living the most abundant life I can will honor his sacrifice. He lived his dream and calling, and loved everything about his service to our country. Rather than telling people about his death I am going to live in the same manner he did, pursuing my own destiny. 

Fear seems to live in the deepest hurts of our soul. The traumatic loss of my brother caused me to retreat to those fears.  My travels took me to safer places, my social groups became smaller and risks I took in life decreased.  I had never been afraid of people or places before. But after Jonathan’s death, when friends moved I felt a deep sense of abandonment, which I couldn’t explain. Why is it we retreat to lick our wounds rather than live inspired by the life our loved one lived?

I notice the healing comes eventually. At anniversary markings I look at how far the year has brought me. This year I ditched my fear of strangers.  On impulse I registered for the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and went alone. Arriving two days early, I toured DC alone and at the seminar I sat with people I didn’t know, without the safety of someone familiar next to me. To my surprise I had fun in my new found independence.  As it turns out sometimes a familiar companion keeps you from finding the new life in your own healing. I came home feeling rather victorious! 

Next up is my old dream…the one I had before Jonathan was killed: Missions. It was a calling I felt before my life was dramatically interrupted by an RPG. The truth is the same for all of us…not everything in our lives dies with our loved ones. I thought I would be forever giving up the old me, the me that I really can’t remember. 

Lo and behold my own destiny was waiting patiently for healing to progress to the point where it could awaken again. It’s been there the whole time and, like my brother exemplified in his own life and death, I will pursue it wholeheartedly. I will live a life worthy of the calling to which I have been called! Destiny awaits us all…how will you live yours?