taking care

My grandmother is an excellent care-taker. Her professional calling was as a nurse and even after retirement she is still taking care of others through work with AARP and other health organizations which raise awareness about health issues for senior citizens. When I lived with her she always knew exactly what I needed to make me feel better: hot tea, cold compress, lemon drops, aspirin, etc. But more than that she soothed me. In her care, I knew I would be okay, that everything in my life would work out somehow. My grandmother has a very deep faith and a way of making others in her life feel positive. In my darkest moments, I felt comforted by the simple warmth of her hugs and reassurances.

Though I turn 30 in January I certainly don't feel like an adult. I do, at times, feel like I cannot take care of myself. I've been incredibly anxious lately and while I know that these feelings are understandable, considering everything on my plate right now; I'm having trouble calming myself, being my own comfort. In the moment, I just panic. Later when I can calm down enough to realize that my heart is beating really fast and I'm having trouble breathing I do a series of breathing exercises and eventually feel okay. Sometimes, it takes a while to get to the point where I notice I am freaking out.

I miss the ways my grandmother eased me. I long for her faith, her belief in the world, in things working out. She gave me a bracelet that reads, "Hope, Dream, Believe." I've been trying to make it my mantra but it is difficult when the panic sets in. In the past, I haven't always been sympathetic to people in tough situations, those who expect others to help them arrange their lives and get their crap together. But I'm beginning to realize just how difficult taking care of yourself can be.