A few days ago I wrote about how panic is always just a breath away for those of us who have suffered loss.
Like a friend of mine recently said, “We are branded. GRIEF is burned into our hearts and we are never the same.”
So how to live this altered life?
How can I manage that emotional tension that saps energy and strength from my heart, mind and body?
Our family has adopted some practical protocols that help. Sometimes they fail (as they did that night) but for the most part, they give all of us a margin of assurance that keeps panic to a minimum.
We carry our phones, all the time. I was never THAT person before Dominic left us. I used my phone mainly when away from the house or traveling. Otherwise it might be left charging in the kitchen or tucked inside my purse from my last outing.
Not anymore. When I wake up in the morning I grab it and my glasses from the bedside table and my phone is in my hand, in plain view or in my pocket until it is put back there at night. I make sure it’s charged and if traveling or going somewhere a plug may not be available I carry a small power cell to charge on the go.
We tell one another of our plans and, if appropriate, of our route. My kids are grown. I’m not interested in supervising their lives. But they understand my mama heart and graciously give me at least a general idea of where they are and what they are doing. They text when they get back home no matter how late it is.
I don’t stay awake waiting for it, but when I wake in the wee hours or in the morning, I have the reassuring message to greet me.
We answer texts/calls ASAP. Obviously we don’t encourage texting and driving but each of us has learned to give a “thumbs up” icon quickly in response to a text message just so the person sending it can be reassured. Then, when it’s convenient and/or safe, we respond more fully.
We keep each other informed when traveling. We distribute itineraries and give periodic updates on flight status, traffic or other appropriate information so family members not only know where we are but also if our time of arrival has been altered due to flight or weather delays or traffic conditions.
We share phone numbers of friends and coworkers which gives us alternate forms of communication should there be an emergency. Family phone numbers are in “favorites” in our phones so if we are unable to call for ourselves, emergency personnel would know who to call.
Truth is, we can’t stop bad things from happening and we know that.
But there’s no reason to create fear and panic when a quick phone call or text can avert it.
Our hearts bear enough already. ❤