In a loving family, there really isn't anything like the bond a child has with their parent. Even when you get older and hopefully go on to establish a family of your own, it's a deep connection that can't be severed. A woman named Nikki Pennington has been working to keep that connection even after her mother's passing.
Pennington blogs about grief and the sometimes very long path to recovery after losing a loved one. Her mother died unexpectedly, and she often writes about that loss and how it is affecting her daily life now.
She also keeps a Facebook page called Grief to Hope with Nikki Pennington. A recent post has gone viral, because it shows what an amazing mom Nikki had.
Pennington writes that she has always struggled with anxiety. Her mom knew that about her, and was great at talking her down when she was spinning out. After her mother died, Pennington told her husband that "her person" who understood how to help her was gone forever. He then told her an amazing story about what Nikki's mom had done on their wedding day to assure that wouldn't happen.
Anxiety has been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember
It’s been there for so long that I don’t really recall a time in my life without it.
If you have anxiety then you know you have that one person. The one person that knows just how to help calm you down in the midst of the anxiety fog.
That one person for me was my Mom.
She knew just what to say, how to say it and the right moment to say it to help bring me back to reality. Her words and comfort were always stronger than my anxiety.
I always just assumed she would always be there to be my person but that all changed.
It was a few weeks after my husband and I were married and my anxiety kicked in, I said, “I have to call my Mom” he paused and said, “How about you talk to me instead? Just give me a try and see if I can compare.”
So I did, I gave him a chance to help ease my anxiety and it was as if I was talking to my Mom, it was as if I was talking to my person.
The calls to my Mom when my anxiety was in full force became less and less. She never asked why, never asked about it once. That’s because Moms like mine are few and far between.
The day my Mom died I called my husband. I said, “My person is gone. The one that knew me and loved me with all my flaws. The one, the only one who could calm my fears, she’s gone.”
Then he began to tell me a story about my Mom. A story that I never knew about her before because she didn’t want me to know.
You see on our wedding day, my Mom gave my husband a note. A note that was just for the two of them. A note with the title that said, “How to be Nikki’s person."
It was a step by step guide on what she would say and do for me when my anxiety was taking over.
Step 1: Just listen
Step 2: Listen a little more
Step 3: Don’t try and solve the problem
Step 4: Tell her you understand
Step 5: Keep listening until she’s sorted it out on her own. She will, she always does.
She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s had it figured out on her own all along.
My Mom gave up being my person not because she wanted to but because she wanted my husband to know how to be when she was no longer here. She gave up being my person so that she could make sure I would always have one no matter what.
Well Mom, you will still forever be my person.
People are deeply moved by this story of Pennington's mom deliberately giving her space to attach to another person, and many related to how she deals with anxiety. They also have "their person" who helped them when they were low, and some have lost them, too:
A beautiful reminder of how love lasts beyond separation.
Celebrate your person or the memory of your person today. It'll make them smile no matter where they are.