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 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- the panic and fear I was feeling isn’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.  


  1. Hey Tara,

    Wow...what a stressful moment. I remember one time I panicked with Mom. It was a little bigger deal in that Mom could not catch her breath to breathe because she was having a coughing attack because of the mucus. I panicked! Dad quietly got up as though he was not in a hurry and walked her out on the porch so she could cool off to breathe.

    She later came into my room that night, and she told me because I panicked, I made it worse. She apologized if she made me upset. I don’t know if that conversation was brought on by my Dad or not. It is making me tear up just thinking about it:(

    Boy, I will never forget that! It helped me learn the next time I wanted to panic which is when I was walking Mom, and she fell to her knees. She had a hoist around her waist. She told me, "You aren't going to be able to get me up." Which made me even more determined to do so! I did and we went about our way. Just thought I would share those thoughts with you:) Much love, ~ Judy


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