To breathe – inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Sometimes, oftentimes, that is all I am confident I can do. It’s what got me through Russell’s traumatic illness and death. It’s what got me through the days, weeks, months of shock that followed. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale – over and over and over again. Standing still, eyes often closed to picture my breath, letting go of any and all expectations upon myself but to focus on my breath. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
I find myself turning to this again as I prepare myself for Kateri to move to her new job in Hampshire, IL which is about 5 hours from home. She will be working at a horse farm with a talented rider and trainer who she greatly respects. It is a wonderfully grand adventure for her first move away from home. Just writing those few words took longer than it normally would as I had to stop and breathe – inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
As thrilled as I am for this new opportunity for Kateri, an opportunity that fills her with confident excitement, the thought of not seeing her everyday threatens to drop me to my knees. Being with my children everyday, being able to hug them and talk with them everyday, has been one of the key pieces of my healing journey. To not have one of them here is almost unfathomable to me. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
The moving out of a child is hard for all parents I am sure. We want them to grow and fly free. But we also want them to be close by, able to be hugged at a moment’s notice. We want to see them become strong, confident adults while also wistfully longing for the days we could still hold their hand in public. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
I am experiencing a rawness, a view through a darker lens as I am poignantly reminded that I alone am the parent helping launch Kateri into the adult world and will be doing the same with Soren and Demetri in the next several years. I am reminded more deeply, more singularly that as my children leave I will soon be alone. All of the dreams that Russell and I shared for “when the kids are grown” are no longer a possibility. They shattered into a million pieces when he died. And in the preparations for Kateri’s move I am made vividly aware that all dreams are now just my own. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
Layers upon layers upon layers of emotions I’ve been feeling these past weeks have left me near mute. I haven’t been able to write about it much less talk about it. And I haven’t even wanted to – for my own sake as well as Kateri’s I have chosen to stay in the moment, embracing and loving every precious one as the gift that it is. I’ve chosen to wait to share my story so as not to draw away from Kateri’s joy. I have chosen to see the awesomeness of this new path for her and help her find her way through her own fears, worries and questions. I have chosen to love this time for all that it is – the joy and the sorrow, the looking forward and the looking back, the mystery and the known, the tears and the laughter. All of it is part of one magical whole. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
As the words bubble up inside of me, ready to spoken, I focus again on my breath, the most powerful tool I have to stay balanced and grounded. With tears flowing down my cheeks and a smile on my face I trust the path I am on and the one that Kateri steps onto today. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.