Just breathe-It doesn’t happen gradually, it usually happens suddenly. Everything will be going alright, I’ll think of my mom at some point every day, and I usually smile at the memories or in the thought that she is looking down from Heaven over our family and protecting us. But every now and again it hits me right in the chest and I find myself thinking I just want my mom. That moment came last night.
The day had been going so well. Bekytt and I are all settled in OH and we are loving our family time. Yesterday we even got to spend most of the day outside as it was 73 degrees and sunny. Absolutely perfect walking weather. We got to spend time with my brother and his family, and Bekytt was eating and napping so well. They say a good night starts with a good day so I figured we had him set up perfectly. Then mom went and ruined it. While walking up the stairs, I accidentally pinched his little fingers against the wall and my shoulder. The water works began. Literally this was the first time he cried with real tears. It broke my heart.
I felt awful and there was nothing I could do but hold him and kiss and rub his tiny fingers. They are all working just fine and there were no cuts or marks on his hand, but it was obvious that it hurt. He eventually settled from that, but the crying didn’t calm down. It’s one thing when your baby is inconsolable at home, but it’s another when there are other people and kids in the house you’re staying at. You can’t help but feel guilty. We went to my nieces room so the crying wouldn’t ruin everyone’s night and we could sit and rock and breathe, but that’s when it hit me. I didn’t know what to do to settle him or stop feeling awful for literally hurting him. I tried nursing him, but he wanted nothing to do with it. I changed him so he was dry. I rocked, I swayed, I patted. I even put him down thinkin he wanted space. Nothing worked. I was so tired and I just wanted my mom so badly.
I tried to think what would Becky do? I mean I’m sure at some point my brother and I cried for hours as well. I’m sure if she were here she’d know a way to keep me calm. She’d make a joke if was appropriate, or inappropriate too actually. Or she’d just smile and breathe. She was great at keeping calm. I actually remember as a teenager getting even more mad at her when I heard her take a deep breath. “Oh really, mom? You’re so mad you have to breathe that deeply, really?” Or I’d see her close her eyes for a few moments. “Mom?! What are you doing, sleeping? I’m trying to talk to you!” And she’d calmly say “I’m just resting my eyes.” Years later I’d finally understand. She knew how to close her eyes and just breathe. How to still be in a stressful moment with a ridiculous teenage girl, and escape at the same time. She was able to use her breath to stay calm. To stop herself from yelling at me like I’m sure she wanted to, and I could see her doing that in this moment as well. I could hear her telling me, just breathe.
After my sister in law saved us by giving some great advice, I felt I could survive the rest of the night. I felt my mom there with me, but I still wished I could have handed her Bekytt and just cried as she told me it would be ok or that this too shall pass. My mom was an amazing mom, but she would have been an even better grandma. When she was sick and near the end, she told me she recorded herself reading kids books on my grandma’s old video camera so she could still read to her future grand kids one day. It broke my heart to realize she’d miss that. She passed away before my brother and I had kids, but I looked long and hard for those tapes. I’d like to think they’ll show up one day, any day, and that Bekytt and my nieces and nephew can experience her wonderful energy and have her read to them one day. But even if they don’t, I’ll make sure they know who grandma Becky was and continues to be in their lives.
Family is so important, and as much as I wish she was still here, it’s so important that we make sure her memories live on and that we just breathe. She made everything better and I know she still can. –Kathryn Kraft, MPT