“What Now?”

This is Part 3 of my story regarding the various ways that helped me heal the pain from the loss of our 16 year-old son, Zane.


After the initial, primal stabs of emotion waned a bit, I did feel some peace. But then I asked myself the question, “What now?”

To my surprise, I did notice something that was positive in this early grieving time (thank goodness).

It came to me from my Personal Performance training.

When I showed horses, my job as a competitor was to call up a state of high positive emotion before I showed, no matter how I really felt at that moment. This would allow me to think, feel and ride at my personal best … moment-to-moment.

Of course, after Zane’s passing, I felt how I felt. I knew it was important to walk through my grieving emotions and not push them aside. I wasn’t sure exactly how to do that. All I knew is that I had no desire to mask my emotions.

Because of my training in emotional mindfulness for competition, I always noticed how I felt.

Along the way, I observed some good feelings during this early time.

I had 20-20 vision about what was important to me. I mean really important … not just ‘on the surface’ important. The awareness of what I valued comforted me.

God, family, and friends … and me making sure I did my part to insure an ever deepening relationship with all of them. Those relationships mattered to me.

I also wanted to make sure my career … as I moved forward … was meaningful to me … and enjoyable.

I committed to live this way.

I knew striving to live my values would bring, not only healing, but a sense of personal ease for the rest of my life, if only I could find a way to keep my values in front of me.

I now strive to do this consistently. I keep a journal. I have daily routines to keep me grounded.

In the aftermath of losing Zane, I also wanted to live and work by a sense of purpose.

I wanted to do more through my work. I came to realize I wanted to encourage others to know how awesome they are … and live their dreams.

This helped me look forward, instead of backwards.

I still trust this process because I’m still here. My work is not over.

I want to do the best job I can now in my work … not for the sake of personal recognition, but because I believe we are all meant to share our talents.

We never know how our lives impact others in a positive way … just as our loved one’s life impacted us.

A few days ago, Tom found a swim cap at the pool where he swims for exercise. With a little research he found out that yes, indeed, the high school swim team had this text on their caps. And, yes it was our Zane.

We had no idea. We were amazed.

Zane’s life continues to impact people almost 18 years later in ways we don’t know, unless we happen to find a swim cap.

It’s been very healing for me to trust in that bigger picture … even though I don’t always know exactly what the picture is.

Also from my Personal Performance training I have a keen sense of what I can control and what I can’t control.

I can only control tuning into my values and purpose, and living from both of them to the best of my ability.

And, I believe there is one more sacred purpose for those of us who grieve. We are meant to comfort others who grieve. It comforts them … and us.

I believe our purposes are not complicated, nor do they have to do with something grandiose.

It’s as simple as listening to our hearts; following through on what we love; and loving each other.

Feel free to let me know what you think about these ideas concerning values and purpose. Just click the link here.

I wish you comfort, peace and healing.

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12 Comments on “What Now?”

  1. Julie Williams on Sun, 25th Feb 2018 3:39 pm
  2. Barbra,
    Your story would be so appealing to Guidepost magazine readers. Any of your life lesson stories would be such an encouragement there and just what they look for too. Julie

  3. Barbra Schulte on Sun, 25th Feb 2018 5:08 pm
  4. Thank you, Julie.

  5. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 25th Feb 2018 8:31 pm
  6. Thank you again, Barbra, for another well thought out, and real ways to overcome grief, so that it does not overwhelm us and leave us paralyzed. I really really like this statement you made towards the end of this “story”, I believe all of our purposes are not complicated, nor do they have to do with something grandiose”. Very helpful to keep that in mind during our daily life. We often lend a helping hand to others, in word or deed, without really knowing that we’ve been helpful in some way.

  7. Cindy on Mon, 26th Feb 2018 8:45 am
  8. Thank you Julie. I have had a hard time finding my purpose again after losing my father. Thank you for your words.

  9. Jen Wintjes on Wed, 10th Jun 2020 5:55 pm
  10. I just listened to your podcast with Stacy Westfall on Ride with Confidence! I really like your points of not comparing, focusing on the job, and focus on what brings us joy.
    I also liked the 3 things: 1-have a purpose; 2-have a program (technical side); and 3-learn from the problems (or errors/mistakes) help us learn:)
    I googled to find another ‘P’ word for errors and came up with ‘pratfall’ which means slip, fall, stumble, but I’ve never heard of pratfalls LOL! Blessings! Thank you!

  11. N Turner on Sun, 9th Aug 2020 9:37 am
  12. As usual U hit the point.

  13. DeAnna Ball on Tue, 11th Aug 2020 4:21 pm
  14. Very comforting words, and thoughts. And Barb, your voice is comforting, as well! I’m going to try to emulate that!

  15. Cindi Whiten on Sun, 30th Aug 2020 2:59 pm
  16. I have experienced a lot of loss in the last 2 years and it feels sometimes that my heart can bear no more. I know God moved me to read your post today. Thank you.

  17. Charlotte on Sun, 2nd May 2021 2:46 pm
  18. Thank you Barbara. It’s now 4 years since my son died. I still cry for him which helps. I know he’s still there in my heart.I know I push him away to “keep going”, but I always come back and he’s there at all ages.And I know he’s also dead, and wants me to go forward with my life. I always feel happy and alive whenever I’m with her, and she whinnies whenever she sees me and my husband come into sight. As I groom her, I tell her how much I love herr because I’m feeling it. She let’s her head drop and closes her eyes and we’re together. And I’m together with my son as long as I live. How people connect and cherish each other.

  19. Tassie Corbett on Mon, 25th Jul 2022 1:43 pm
  20. I’m glad I read this today. I try to go back and read and think about the things I have learned from you and I still can’t really find my purpose. I tend to obsess about something, building this or doing that, just can’t seem to focus on what my life will look like from here on. I know it takes time, just wish I could find something that made me feel like there is more than just living day to day.
    Blessings to you!

  21. Jen Black on Thu, 18th Aug 2022 9:15 am
  22. Barbra,

    This is beautiful and resonates deeply with my experience. I am grateful to have met you at C Lazy U this past spring, and wanted to tell you that in addition to my 11:11’s I have been blessed with many 444’s. To our angels, who are with us every day <3


  23. Lee Ann Bates on Sun, 10th Dec 2023 9:56 pm
  24. Loved the story about the swim cap! I don’t know how I happened to stumble onto this writing of yours, because I’ve never seen these before, but I’m glad I did. You mentioned at the beginning, that this was Part 3 regarding ways that helped to heal the pain. I would love to know the other parts, and where could I find those written? Thanks very much.

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