I've said it before and I'll probably say it till the day I die, but Billy's death changed me. There was Cristyn before Billy died, and then suddenly, without warning, there became Cristyn after Billy died. It has been a most difficult growing pain for me and more painful to watch as my sister, her husband, and their daughter, Avery adjust to life without their precious "B." And then of course there is his younger brother, Nathan and soon to be youngest brother (due in late September) who will never know Billy this side of Heaven.
I'm not sure if anyone else noticed the change, but I did... I still do, everyday, especially when I look in the mirror and late at night when it's just me and God. I have no doubts that the people who were in my life before Billy died and are no longer in it wouldn't recognize me anymore. True I haven't changed much physically, but I believe they would be blown away at how I've grown spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Once upon a time I was described as a turtle, and I highly doubt anyone would give me that description today.
I had to adjust to a new "normal" on March 29, 2008 and as I quickly found out there were a few things I couldn't take with me from the before to the after. For a short while a dream inside of me died when Billy did, as well as the death grip I had on what I thought my future should look like. As the months passed by, when I started to see how God was getting me through the grief (not over it, I'll never be over the loss of my first nephew), I saw how he resurrected a dream and the passion was re-ignited in me, and that I was fighting for something so completely different now.
I've learned to lay down my future, on a daily basis, for it could all change in the blink of an eye. I've watched as the Holy Spirit has become more alive in me and I've fallen in love with the beautiful creation God has created me to be here on earth. My self-confidence is unexplainable, I've learned not to care so much what others think... that's about them, not me. I'll always dislike the event that transpired to get me here, but at the same time, I have no desire to go back to who I was. I've learned to love change, as hard as it is sometimes, I realize how necessary it is.
I have a fire and passion to change the world, and I thank God for that. I also thank Billy, that every time I see his sweet, smiley, chubby face in a picture, he is the catalyst for this new "normal."