Be the breath of fresh air you so desperately need.
I choose this picture of my grandson and me, it was taken the day after his second open heart surgery. I remember holding him in this moment and he was the breath of fresh air I needed. For any of those that know my story I have spoken about how my grandson has serious heart conditions but more so I tell this story because of the strength and hope he has given me, and he can’t even speak yet. The surrounding pictures are of him throughout the last 6 months and everything he has endured. This picture of him and I speak of innocence, love, protection and strength. If the saying is true that a picture speaks a thousand words, I only need it to say three, “I love you” I hold Santana Lucci, my first grandson in my arms for the first time after his second heart surgery and I feel amazed and proud. Maybe those are some odd feelings to feel towards a six-month-old but if you only knew the hell this boy has gone through and it never once has altered his spirit. My grandson always laughs and smiles. He is so chill and laid back, I like to think he gets that from me, but he really gets it from my daughter. Neither of them really ever cried as a baby, and each of them just seems to seamlessly go with the flow. I remember holding my son when he was this little and I was a kid myself. I don’t think back then I understood the magnitude of the responsibility it took raising a child, but I took it on and never looked back. My son and daughter are five years apart and they couldn’t be more different. I think that’s one of the things I enjoy most about motherhood, watching each of my children be unique in their own ways, yet we all have so many similarities. And though I am a young grandparent and may struggle with that title at my age, I once again, never looked back. It has been the best experience I have ever had. I am now able to enjoy the things I overlooked when I was younger, and I can appreciate life a little more, especially with Lil’ Lucci by my side. When I heard my son and my daughter-in-law were going to have a baby, I knew that would be the breath of fresh air I was searching for, it’s exactly what my family needed. It may not have been under the best of circumstances, but my grandson bonded a once severed family.
In 2010, my life fell apart in so many ways, I think that was probably the beginning of my rock bottom. I buried three family members on my mother’s side in 9 months, I was going through a long divorce and custody battle that took 5 years, I was a young single mom and I had no idea how to be strong enough to raise these kids on my own. In the years to come I would face so many obstacles that were bound and determined to break me, but if it wasn’t for the two lives, I gave birth two, I would’ve never made it.
As the people in my life began disappearing not only was the load heavier on my shoulders but I was lonely and lost in deep depression. Things got bad, and for almost 7 years, I couldn’t even stand to celebrate holidays with my kids. I did but that too sent me into deeper depressions. I wasn’t able to afford much for my kids, the family I used to do holiday cooking with was no longer there, and it just became a miserable time for me. Maybe that subconsciously is why I hate winter, all winter long we hear about buying people things and loved ones coming to town, but I didn’t have loved ones.
I remember during my time serving in the military we were taught to have “military bearing.” For those of you that don’t know, military bearing is where you must hold your composure and show no emotion what-so-ever. (Think England Guards), maybe single parents should go and give some lessons to the soldiers. My point being that, I know one of the things I struggled with the most was the lack of having others to confide in and always having to have “military bearing” for the strength of my kids. It’s an impossible burden to carry, well, if you don’t want to go insane. In staring at that picture, I am reminded of why I am living, I am reminded that I too can be strong and fight, if my baby grandson can too. I made a promise to my grandson the day he was born that I would always have his back and we would fight together. He has far exceeded any fight I could ever put up, but a promise is a promise and though he will never remember it, I will always keep my word. His strength is astounding, and his will and desire to fight is impressive. If there is one thing, I am proud of my family for, it is most definitely our fighting spirit.
I knew, when I heard of his condition, a change in my life was long overdue. I knew that the pain of remaining the same was going to be more painful than any change I would face. The road I was I on, almost ended to abruptly. I knew that I would not take another generation down the road to hell with me, I knew I had fight left in me somewhere, and shortly thereafter I found it time and time again. I had been longing for change for so long so why the hell was I so afraid? The birth of my grandson changed my life, he gave me that strength I needed to stand up for one more round in the ring. I saw what my grandson was going through and there was no way I could stare at him and give up. How could I cry about circumstances I could change with just a matter of the effort I put forth but my grandson, he smiled through it all and just keeps going effortlessly. As adults, shouldn’t we be the ones projecting that strength? How was it that my grandson was so young, and he already understood life, he already had that strength. That’s what I find beautiful about life and children, they haven’t learned to listen to others when they say something isn’t possible, their world goes to a whole new galaxy. That was the breath of fresh air I needed, that’s what I was lacking around me.
I didn’t start a new chapter in my life, I burned that long sad story of a book that mimicked my old life and watched that [email protected]#$ burn. I was glad to, I needed to. I read that book, studied and lived it, but now, now, I needed to live again, no excuses.
So, my contribution to this world is simply a woman that has a simple wish. I wish each one of us would find that love and compassion that this photo exhibits. May we learn to embrace one another, accept each other once again for who and what we are and can contribute to this world? I’m tired of people hating, tired of people making each other feel less than or unworthy. I’m tired of the judgment, I’m tired of the hurt and pain. I’m tired of being reminded of all the suffering that we impose on one another; can we be the breath of fresh air that we are all in need of? My contribution is a woman that fights back, and never gives up. My contribution is a woman trying to make the world a better place because I was here.
I want others to know, their voices matter, their lives matter, their story needs to be told. Each day you want to give up, think of others that fight because they want it but can’t have it. When you want to give up, play just one more song. Play that song that touches your soul and grabs your attention. Play that song that clenches your heart and restores the fight you thought you lost. Play it over and over, pay attention to the vibrations, the beat, the words, the meaning, and the tone. As I write this, I am listening to Something to Remind You by Staind. His raspy voice as it compliments the chords of the guitar as they’re struck catch my attention. I listen to his message is heart wrenching as he talks about when he is no longer here.
I couldn’t leave this world without offering myself to it. To my children and grandchildren, may you always be able to look back at my contribution I’ve made may you be reminded to be yourself always. May you learn to live your passion long before I ever did. May you always tend that fire that burnt in your soul never letting the flame dwindle and die. May you be able to look back at my story and feel comfort in my words long after I leave this world and am no longer able to speak them. When you look at this picture may you always be reminded that my family was the breath of fresh air I needed. May you never question the amount of love, devotion or loyalty that I have. May you understand that I recognize that I have made mistakes, but all I can do, is do better. I hope when you look at this picture you are reminded of the love and never question the breath of fresh air.
Keep Insulting Standards by Becoming the Change!
To hear my podcast version visit: https://anchor.fm/dashboard/episode/eadm93