Story Time with Susie – Living Life with Intention after Loss

This past weekend was full of life, celebration, sadness, joy, tears…. I turned 30 years old this past Sunday. However, the weekend was not only about celebrating my birthday, but also remembering my brother Matt who died last year, just 3 days before my birthday. He had just turned 34 years old. I can without a doubt say that last year was the toughest time of my life. There was so much grief, sadness, and anger that came from this loss.

But as with most horrendous and life-changing events, it helps to put things in perspective. After starting the process of working through the initial emotions of his passing, I began to be more intentional about my thoughts day to day and how present I am in each moment – being sure to intentionally feel gratitude each and every single day.

So fast forward to this year – A year after his passing – myself alongside of my family made sure that we held space for us to feel the pain of him not being here, but also to celebrate who he was and enjoy a beautiful weekend together. My sister came in to town from Seattle as did my brother and his family from Rochester, and we spent a day doing all things that Matt would have enjoyed.

The Fam at the East Aurora Town Pool

We started the day at the East Aurora pool, which is where we spent our childhood summers. Matt LOVED water and being in the pool. That was followed by ice cream, cause… Well… We’re the Kushner family. We’re known for getting ice cream. We then made our way over to the cemetery to spend time with Matt and my Dad (such a weird but beautiful experience). Matt was ALL about family, so we finished our day enjoying each other’s company at my house and eating pizza and wings, which he always loved getting.

My sister and I at Village Ice Cream of Orchard Park

What saddens me the most is that we dedicated a day specifically to Matt, doing the things that he loved, but he was not here to experience and enjoy it with us. That just seems so wrong.

I want to start doing things to celebrate people NOW, while they’re here with me. I want to LIVE LIFE, not just to walk through the motions every day, then on my last day here wish that I had done more. Something I’ve made a priority since my Dad died almost 8 years ago, and definitely since Matt’s passing, is seeing my Mom every weekend. That and prioritizing staying active, cause when I move and push my body past its limits, that’s when I feel most alive. And I want to continue to do more of that.

Life is short. It truly is what you make of it. We can’t control a lot of things, but we can control our perspective on each day, so I encourage you to find gratitude in each and every day. (There’s always something to be grateful for, even on bad days.) I hope you move towards the things that make you truly happy and spend your time with the people who matter the most. Tell the people you love that you love them while you can. 

If this blog inspired you at all to take action to move towards a more intentional life, let us know in the comments a step you are going to take today to move in that direction. ♥️

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