It was during one of the many visits to the ER that I had a huge life epiphany that would carry across to many situations I would face in my life. As I sat there with him holding his hand I realized my breathing had changed. I was taking deep lung fulls of air and calmly releasing them. Over and Over.
I had been trying to breathe for him.
It was a life lesson that I will never forget.
It is one of the hardest things in life we face. Our powerlessness to help someone we love. To grab the reins and step in to make it all better. Sometimes we can't breathe for them. Sometimes they have got to be the one to breathe on their own. Regardless of how much love we have for them. How much strength we have to give them. How much insight and ideas we have to help them make a better life, better choices or get to a better place. Sometimes we can't. Sometimes we have to step back. Sometimes a loved one is facing or dealing with something that regardless of how hard we try, how hard we pray; only they can fix. While we remain on the sidelines cheering them on, offering support or a safety net. Just so they know they are not alone.
Sometimes life gives you situations that you will never be able to control. That you will always remain a bystander in and it is one of the hardest roles to become accustomed to. A son or daughter fighting addiction. A relative with a mental illness or a friend in an abusive relationship. Sometimes we will be faced with something that we can't fix. The push to try harder and to never give up motivating us to the point of exhaustion. To give as much love and guidance as we can. The guilt eats away at our soul and we are left standing there no further ahead. While we watch our loved one struggle, fight or just give up. We can no more walk their path for them, make better decisions for them or get them to want our help, then I could breathing for my husband in the ER.
Sometimes there are happy endings. But sometimes there are not. Sometimes life had different outcomes in mind that we never saw coming. The guilt eats away and the could have beens. The "If only I had tried harder" or "Loved them more". Stop. You know inside of your very soul that you gave all you had and then some. If they are still making bad life decisions all you can do know is love them. Be there to catch them should they fall.
Always know that it is their path to walk and while you can walk beside them, you can never walk for them. For as it is our destiny to walk our own life path, it is also their destiny to walk their own path as well.