I'm All About That Bass

Author: Linda Ambard

There is a song that says, “I’m all about that bass, about that bass.” That song means something different to me than others, I am sure. When I hear it, I immediately consider my attitude. It’s all about that attitude. While I cannot deny that I still have pity parties and days that I break down in tears, I can say that each and every day I make the choice to be happy. How can I subtly shift my paradigms when the very person I built my past and my future on was unfairly taken from me? I fight for it.

Linda Ambard

Every day I get out of bed and I lace up my running shoes. That simple choice is one that I made from the start. I don’t always feel like it and running doesn’t always work, but in the early morning hours I find grounding. I am able to work through my fears, tears, and a crushing grief that threatens to steal my life. When I am running, I can feel sparks of happiness, and I can see that if I press on one second at a time, one minute at a time, one hour at a time, one mile at a time, one marathon at a time, I can do it. There will be times that hurt and times when I am consumed with thinking that I cannot face what lies ahead, but if I press on through the ache I will find my footing and I will find joy in the journey. Easy? Never, but the choice is to face the darkness and fight the will that is sometimes counter to what I should do.

Five days after Phil was buried, I made the choice to return to work. I didn’t have to, but I needed a reason to get up in the morning. I needed to take my focus off the crushing pain that was consuming me and focus on finding a new normal. It would have been easier to hide—to isolate myself. It felt like nobody knew what I was going through and I had no roadmap to help me navigate. Work gave me connections and it showed me that even in my broken state I had worth and that there were people who valued me.

Work also gave me a platform to help others and then it gave me a platform to affect change in the military world. Because of Phil’s death and the way I have processed my grief through writing and speaking on military loss, the brotherhood, and the resiliency that defines my choices, I have grown as a person. I surely would choose to have the life I once had—a life where I lived in the shadows of my very successful family, but I cannot live my days wishing for what can never be. I cannot let anger, regret, or living in the past consume my actions and thoughts. It is in that choice, I can make something light and positive come from the darkness.

Three and a half years later, I find meaning and purpose in helping others and knowing that I’m making a difference for those families coming after me. On Phil’s angelversary, however, I have found that while my heart is bleeding, if I reach out and do random acts of kindness for other people, I feel better. It gets the focus off of me and those thoughts of what should have been…what I thought my life was going to be in my fifties.

One of the biggest shifts in my paradigms happened this fall. One day I realized that life isn’t always fair and that I had come to peace with the fact that I had prayed every day for Phil to come home to me. He didn’t and it rocked my assumptive world view. My shift was in realizing that bad things happen to good people, children even, and I had been blessed to have had a man who loved me well for twenty-three years. Many people want what we had and I am blessed that I had it for so long. I know what it is to love well, to be loved well, and to be part of a good marriage.

In the choice to embrace gratitude for the twenty-three years we shared, my focus shifted from the pity party of one when I am lonely. Do I still get lonely and cry? You bet, but I breathe through the storms and concentrate on the aspects of what I can control. On those days when darkness closes in, I embrace pink polka dots, bubbles, sparkles, and my friends. I know that soon the sun will rise again and I choose happiness because it is all about “that bass.” My attitude says it all.