Republishing one of our first blog posts. Thank you, Pammy Schwarz, for your timeless words!
Paraphrasing the recent comment of a friend of a friend,
“Life is one great breath — we take one big inhale when we are born and we take one big exhale when we die.”Amy Kosh
I am also reminded that life is defined not by the numbers of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. All this comes to mind because in May of 2020 my step-mother took her last breath.
These are moments of her life that took my breath away and make me grateful to have known her during her one great breath.
Carol married my father when I was five. She and I shared the same birthday. She worked for two of our Nation’s presidents. She was widowed at the age of 33 and raised 3 kids under the age of 7 alone but with the help of family and friends. These are just statements of fact.
She embraced me as her own and taught me how to love any child unconditionally and to make them feel special. She and my mom got along very well and made co-parenting a pleasant experience. She cared for and took people in, including her nephew and my eldest son, to allow them time and space to find direction in their lives.
She had an amazing laugh that could encourage anyone in the darkest of times — something I loved best about her and miss most. She made time to create lasting memories to cover and replace pain.
She took all of 4 of us kids on an RV trip across country for three months when our father passed (not something 13 year old me wanted to do but something 56 year old me never forgets) or taking some of our family on a trip to a cabin during her last summer in the mountains of Tennessee to be in awe of the beauties of nature and play board games until the wee hours. What mattered most to her was quality time spent together as a family, loving and laughing. She helped me to raise my family the same way.
I recently completed a course in self discovery for the second time (because once just wasn’t enough).
It taught me to reflect on such moments and to consider “the dash” — the time between that first and last one great breath.
It gave me peace over the pains of my past and comforts me today in times of despair at the loss of Carol and worry over the unknown like an endless quarantine where very familiar things like going to the grocery store feel incredibly unfamiliar.
And with the tools I collected in that course, I am confident that I can move gracefully through any circumstance I encounter. Does it mean that there won’t be moments of doubt or pain felt or mistakes made? Of course not.
But it can help anyone to understand how important their own dash or great breath can mean to themselves or someone in need of loving guidance. Some hear the call to go through the process of self discovery and some won’t. I’m glad I did.
That joy brought me to the realization that I needed to share what I had learned. More than two years ago, I began my journey as a Guide of that course to help others find their bliss and for more than the last year I have been a part of the Staff. It is an honor and a calling I don’t take lightly. May I gingerly and humbly help those desiring to create moments in their lives that can be their one great breath, too.
To read more from Pammy, check out her blog.