The loss of a loved one changes you. There is no escaping it. I think one of the most identifiable ways in which it does is in your thinking, your perspective, the way you see things after your loss. All those things you once thought were such priorities and so important, really aren't. They become so much less.
Yet there is a flip side. Priorities become focused, clear-cut. The brevity of life hangs at the forefront of your mind like a flashing neon sign. Things like blogging about my day, laundry hanging on the line, and getting items checked off the "to-do" list just seem so trivial now. Grief makes you realize those things were just cheap imitations of joy. Not that those things don't still bring me satisfaction or cause me to smile, but I now recognize that they are shallow in the joy they provide. They fail to reach the heart.
In contrast, meditating on the promises of God, seeing the smiles and laughter from my children, and hearing them converse with one another from the back of the van while I'm driving are now sources of deep, abiding joy. These things were certainly there before the loss of our son, but I failed to grasp how deeply they went. I agree completely with the following quote: "People say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it."
The shift in thinking caused by grief changes many things. Thankfully, not all the changes are bad. For one thing, I'm much quicker to forgive and move on. As the psalmist says, "You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath." Life is short and I'm more resolved than ever not to waste what precious time there is in being bitter. Secondly, thoughts of eternity are ever-present. Almost everything I see now is filtered through the lens of Heaven. Troubles, frustrations, temptations, and the stresses of daily life are tempered in the light of eternity. I don't fret about stuff like I used to. Many things that used to be "big deals" aren't anymore. I just wish the catalyst for these changes hadn't been the loss of my 16yo. son.