When I turned 20, 30, or even 40 years old, I had a vision in my mind of how the rest of my life would look.
At 20, I knew I wanted to be a mother (someday)
At 30, I had 3 boys and knew I wanted 1 more.
At 40, my husband and I spent what felt like every single weekend at hockey tournaments (often two or three different tournaments in two different states), cheering on our boys.
At 44, I watched Nick– my first-born – graduate high school, then we moved him into his college dorm. I remember being so proud of him and thought he had so much life ahead of him. Jack graduated the following year and was set to leave for college in the fall. I envisioned them earning degrees, getting married and starting families of their own.
At 45, I buried both of them. On the same day.
Since the boys passed in 2015, the holidays have become an incredibly reflective time of year for me. Everything stirs up a memory, an emotion or a tear. However, this year it seems to be even more so… even more so because December 26th is my birthday, and it is a milestone birthday for me. I turn 50.
Last weekend, when I wasn’t getting a cardio workout on the interstate as our youngest son Matthew drove us to his hockey tournament in Ohio, my mind started to drift. I thought about these past 50 years and how much “life experience” has been packed into them. I thought about how different life has been from how I thought it would be… and as much as we hear about being sad, or dreading the fate of turning another year older, this year I only have feelings of thanksgiving. I’m so thankful because I know turning 50 (or any age) is not something everyone has been granted.
I’m so thankful for each and every year I have been blessed to have. I’m grateful for the memories we made as a family of six and the ones we continue to make as a family of four. I’m honored that the tragedy in my 40s brought me the mission of 525 Foundation that will continue through my 50s and beyond – saving lives by continuing to share my family’s story with anyone who will listen.
The greatest gift of I received this year is perspective in knowing I AM the mother of four incredible boys… two who bring me the greatest joy with their being and make me proud each and every day; and two who continue to make an impact in our world from a distance. And a birthday can’t change that.
You know what? Turning 50 isn’t such a bad thing, and I vow to use each of my days ahead to do good. I also challenge you to view the days you’re given as a blessing. Embrace the age you are and rock it - no matter what number it is. Live life to its fullest. Find ways to make an impact in your community. Help others when they need it. Love one another, even when life gets hard. I promise, you’ll be so much better for it.
Becky Savage’s two teenage sons – Nick and Jack – accidentally overdosed on a deadly cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs on the same night in June 2015. Becky and her husband Mike turned their unimaginable grief into a powerful message: educating students, parents, lawmakers and anyone else who will listen about the dangers of prescription drugs. The couple created 525 Foundation (the boys’ hockey numbers were 5 and 25) with a goal of preventing another family from experiencing the pain the Savage family still struggles with every day. To date, Becky has bravely shared her story with more than 60,000 high school students from Indiana to Texas to Oregon and presented at conferences across the country. She’s spoken to members of a United States Senate opioid crisis committee, serves as an ambassador for the Walgreens #ItEndsWithUs campaign and participated in countless interviews for podcasts and news media.