Life Ain't Always Beautiful


I started typing a blog tonight that was titled "Learning to Live With Me" and it started out about how I've used that title many times over the years, usually when I've discovered a part of who I am that I was ignorant of before, or when I've become contented with a part of myself that I'd previously been dissatisfied with.

But the blog wasn't about either of those things, it was about a cute little comment my Jason made tonight about how it's tough adjusting to a woman's way of thinking (in regards to how much information we ask for from men and how little we actually get) and how he was the one who's learning to live with me for a change.

But that title took me down another road.

Because that title is from a song written by Gary Allan in the wake of his wife's suicide in 2004.

And I started thinking about all the wonderful and often-heartwrenching songs he's put out since then that have connected with me because of the suicide that my family and I have been surviving for almost seven years now.

{Read more here if you don't know the story}

For any of you who have read my writings for an extended period of time you'll notice that I always use the word "survive" or "survivor" in terms of those left behind to deal with a suicide.

Because that's really all you can do.

Before December 14, 2003 the term "survivor" (to me) was reserved for people whose lives had been torn apart and irrevocably changed from some great catastrophe such as war or cancer or vicious and violent crimes.

Before December 14, 2003 a survivor was heralded, in my mind, as this great and mighty person who faced whatever evils life brought their way and they overcame and they triumphed and they were victorious.

And survivors are exactly that.

But sometimes a survivor is someone who was broken and hurt and completely overwhelmed by whatever evils life brought their way.  Sometimes a survivor isn't the victor, they're just someone who refused to give-up because they saw just how much giving-up could hurt.

Sometimes a survivor isn't the person who endures terrible times just to come out alive on the other end of it, sometimes a survivor is the person who endures those times and, eventually--when they're able to pick themselves up--chooses to live beyond it.

Jerrid's death was a time-marker in my life.

Without even trying to, I have mentally classified every major event in the 21st century as 'before Jerrid' or 'after Jerrid'.

Before Jerrid, life was more about me and less about others.

Before Jerrid, I was more focused on what I was doing and where I was going and less about what I should be doing and where I should be going.

Before Jerrid, I wasn't so focused on what kind of example I was to others, but what kind of excuses the examples of others could give me for being less than I knew I should be.

Before Jerrid, life was more about superficial beauty instead of real, true, inside-and-out beauty.

After Jerrid, I heard the song that this title came from and something settled inside the hole that was formed in my heart on December 14, 2003.  I chose to see life as Gary Allan wrote it.  Sure, it's hard sometimes, but those hard times have a way of really putting the shine on those good times.

Life ain't always beautiful, but it really, truly is a beautiful ride.


Life ain't always beautiful,
sometimes it's just plain hard.
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart.

Life ain't always beautiful,
You think you're on your way,
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day.

But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time.

No, life ain't always beautiful,
Tears will fall sometimes.
Life ain't always beautiful,
But it's a beautiful ride.

Life ain't always beautiful,
Some days I miss your smile,
I get tired of walking all these lonely miles.

And I wish for just one minute
I could see your pretty face
Guess I can dream, but life don't work that way.

But the struggles make me stronger
And the changes make me wise,
And happiness has its own way of taking its sweet time.

No, life ain't always beautiful,
But I know I'll be fine
Life ain't always beautiful,
But it's a beautiful ride.
What a beautiful ride.


-Gary Allan
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.