Do you ever look at someone who is sleeping and some part of your mind watches for their chest to move with their breathing? And then you notice you are looking for it so you watch closer but don’t see it? And then just when you are about to freak out and wake them up you see it?
No? That’s just me??
Oh. Well, I do it all the time.
When I was a young teenager we watched this movie about a family singing group called The Goodman’s. They are a huge family with a lot of kids and all of them sing beautifully. This movie, however, is about the car accident that killed three of the younger children. It’s a very sad movie, the family tells the story and talks about their reactions and how they relied on Heavenly Father to get them through it. The thing that has stuck in my mind is not the amazing way they made it through the trial as a family, it was one statement, I think made by the father, that I can’t even quote word for word. It was something to the effect of, that at some point every family goes through a great tragedy like there’s did.
I’m 100% sure that I took it out of context and didn’t actually understand the message that he was trying to convey, but my 12 or 13 year old brain took it as “crap, someone in my family is going to die.”
I never told anyone about this fear, but I worried about it any time my family wasn’t together. I always made sure that I knew exactly when my parents were going to be home on date night and I worried if they were late. I had a mini panic attack if my mom wasn’t home when I arrived home from school, especially if she hadn’t left something for a snack like she usually did. Obviously that meant something was wrong. When my parents went to Hawaii for the first time I stressed all day. They were supposed to call as soon as they got in and when they didn’t I was a wreck (I only calculated for time on the plane, not everything else you do when you travel). It didn’t help that when my friends’ mom took me to my house to check on the house, their wills were sitting on the table. I was sure their plane had crashed.
As I got older, my anxiety lessened and I had pretty much gotten over it. Then Sadie (my dog) died. It was unexpected and I grieved over it a lot. In fact, I still find myself crying over it occasionally. (I think it makes Tucker jealous though because, without fail, anytime I get sad over Sadie he jumps on the couch and tries to climb onto my lap.) I found that after she died a lot of my anxiety returned, just in a different form. I find myself watching Tucker and Trixie (the cat) when they are sleeping to make sure I can see them breathing and I start freaking out if I don’t see it right away. I do this with Greg too, except sometimes he actually isn’t breathing… but just like everyone else, they are always okay.
I made two realizations today.
First of all, he probably meant (or said) that every family will go through hard trials.
Second, hard trials does not necessarily equal everyone I love dying suddenly.
I know, obvious right? Especially since the whole reason we were sent to Earth was to be tried and tested. If the only trial available was killing someone off, this life would be a lot shorter. I don’t know why it took me almost 15 years to grasp this concept.
Maybe now I can stop checking if everyone is breathing…
Or not. Some habits are hard to break.