Learning Not to Panic

by Tara Turner on Fri, 2013-02-01 14:12

Tara Turner

It was an average day at work. I had spent the morning laughing with co-workers trying to stay motivated enough to make it through the last half of the day when I noticed my phone was vibrating. I looked down, and in a split second I panicked.

As I answered the phone, I could hear my mom breathing rapidly and with the raspy sound of her voice I heard my name. As I desperately tried to figure out what was wrong, I was overtaken with the most intense sense of panic. The rush of adrenaline that seeped into every ounce of my being was overwhelming. All I knew to do was to run … literally run.

As I raced to the stairs on the opposite end of the floor all I could do was pray. Pray that whatever it was, she would have the strength in her voice to communicate it. I stood outside longing for the thick hot air to stop suffocating me. With each moment of silence, the panic became greater and as she struggled on the other end to speak to me, I could feel her frustration.

Knowing that my 17-month-old son, Ryan, was with her and she was alone, I did the only thing I knew to do … I told her I was coming home. I drove with intensity in an effort to hold it together and be strong for whatever situation I was getting ready to walk in to. As I rushed in the house, I saw her standing in the kitchen; my dad was holding Ryan and standing beside her. My dad instantly said, “It’s OK, she’s OK. Ryan is sick.”  

An enormous amount of peace and relief came rushing over me and then it happened … The floodgates to my emotions opened, and I lost it. As I stood frozen in their living room, I realized that this is my new reality. That nothing is simple anymore. That a phone call from my mom means something is wrong … that I will never experience the beauty of a solid conversation with her again. Realizing the effect of this situation, my mom began to cry. She just looked at me, and all I could say was, “I was so scared Mom, I was so scared.”

My dad, trying to make things better, continued to say, “It’s OK Tara.” I couldn’t accept it. It’s not OK … and I made that clear. This situation — this new normal, this new life — and the panic and fear I was feeling weren’t OK. I needed to stand there and cry and voice it. Honestly, it sucks.

Sometimes, I think these situations need to happen. It’s healthy to recognize that life is hard, and it’s OK to have those days. I don’t dwell on them and for the most part I am adjusting to this new life we are all living. At the same time, I can’t help but mourn what we are losing.

Communication is such an art and all too often I think it’s taken for granted. I miss her voice. I miss the deep laughter that would consume us … sometimes so much that it would irritate my dad. He used to tell us we needed to knock it off before one of us got sick, and then we would just laugh harder. We are truly blessed to still have moments together as a family.

As difficult as it was to be on the receiving end of that phone call, I am forever grateful. With each situation of panic and fear, we learn to love deeper and to hold each other stronger.

About the Author

I am a twenty-something, vibrant and creative new mommy to the most handsome and charming little boy! I live a life of passion and find joy in God's creation. I have created this blog in honor of my beautiful mom Linda! She is my inspiration and my best friend! On Nov. 30, 2010, she was diagnosed with ALS, a devastating and heartbreaking disease. My desire is for this blog to bring encouragement and hope to other families who are suffering with a terminal illness. Grab a cup of coffee or some lemonade, and join us as we laugh, cry and celebrate this incredible life we have been given!   

Tara Turner lives in Gilbert, Ariz. Check out her blog, A Beautiful Life: One girl’s journey through the trials and grace of supporting a mom with ALS.

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