It’s the simple moments in life that can teach us some of the most important lessons. I was out walking Abby this evening when she abruptly stopped walking. (This is what happened Monday night when we ended up in the emergency room.) I was terrified of another episode until I looked, really looked at what was happening. She was looking around in every direction and keeping her head down, she wouldn’t look at me or respond to my voice. I knew she had just been frightened of a Bulldog that was barking at her at the house we just passed. I took a moment to try to see the world through her point of view. What I noticed was that while the Bulldog was still barking, there was an echo. He was clearly behind us, but it sounded as though he was also in front of us, to the left and to the right. Then, I listened further. There was a fairly busy road nearby and I could hear the cars and trucks driving by. (vehicles are another one of her fears) She knew there were tons of frightening things around, but she couldn’t see any of them and this scared her enough to not want to move any further. My heart broke for whatever she has been through in her previous 2 years and I got down to her level and spoke softly. I reminded her she was safe with me and that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her. I told her I loved her and allowed her the space to be afraid. After about 2 minutes I stood up and asked her to start walking with me again. She didn’t even hesitate. We made it the rest of the way home without stopping even though 2 trucks passed us by.
Fear doesn’t just manifest with an obvious frightened look as Abby proved on Monday. Sometimes it can manifest in ill health, other times in anger or frustration. It is at these moments that we need to look beyond the fear. We should always try to validate the feeling (so much easier said than done) because it feels real to the person feeling it. Then, we should try what we can to make the fearful person feel safe, secure and loved. Even if that person happens to be us.
Earlier in the day I thought perhaps I wasn’t being the best Mom to Abby which in turn made me feel like maybe I wasn’t the best Mom to my children (ridiculous I know, but fear can get the best of us). The result of this fear was that I wasn’t the best Mom today. I was quick to fly off the handle and very frustrated at every little thing. Thank goodness for my hugs. They are what sustained me today. They kept me feeling safe at times when I was feeling my worst. Yet, it wasn’t until this evening that I finally validated my fear, allowed it to pass and reminded myself that I am a great Mom. Thank you Abby for reminding me of this.
Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.