In the beginning God breathed life into us. Daily we breathe. So have you ever thought about the word breath and what it means? The dictionary defines it like this:  the brief time required for a single respiration, life, a moment, instant or pause.

My husband says it’s the instant or moment in your life that you know there is nothing else you can do but step back and breathe. He told me the word breath has changed the way he has looked at his life from early on in our marriage. It was a quiet winter evening. We were at home talking and I asked him how he came up with the expression…to just breathe. He told me it started after we had kids. He went on to say the kids taught him to breathe. He could remember instead of getting mad or upset at the kids, he would just breathe. He said the kids didn’t always do things on purpose to make him mad. They were just being kids.

He continued telling me it stuck with him through his life. It wasn’t until our son, Tyler’s accident that I really noticed him verbally saying, “sometimes you have to step back and just breathe” or “breathe.” It seemed to be a code word to calm him down or look at the positive at that moment.

He said in the beginning there were times when people would talk about Tyler that hit a tender spot in his heart. Others have already gone on with their lives. Many parents who have kids in Tyler’s grade talk about an event they are getting ready for or stressing about to him. In that moment, they don’t realize that we already have wondered a million times what we would be doing or feeling if Tyler was here. Those are the times he says he has to remind himself to “just breathe.” They don’t mean to hurt him or make him sad, it’s just that they have moved on with their normal life and his life has changed.

It’s even hard on the days he goes to visit Tyler at the cemetery and can’t believe that he’s gone. Just breathe. 

He even has to breathe with God. He says those are the hardest times when he asks God to help him understand why he had this in his plans. He patiently waits for the answer and continues to breathe.

My husband tells me it has helped and continues to help him be calm, choose better words, and it’s grown to be a habit. He has told others who have lost a loved one his advice and they said it was the best thing they had been told during that difficult time. I think it is very powerful because we always try to control everything and giving yourself a moment to step back and breathe is good – you are not as quick to speak. It also gives us a sense of peace that reminds us that everyone may not truly understand what we are going through or our feeling, but they really just want to help.

I find it amazing that in the beginning God breathed life into us so that we could live. It’s that same breath that my husband says helps him to get through what life gives him. So when you are having a bad day, struggling with life and you need help refocusing so you can take the next step forward, try following my husband’s advice.

Sometimes – you need to step back and just breathe.

Missy Hillmer

Missy Hillmer is a writer, photographer, wife, mother, creative lady whose mind is constantly on the go. She loves coffee, dark chocolate especially with nuts, music soothes her soul and being outside in the sun recharges her body. She has an angel in Heaven. Her faith is what gets her through each day. Since her son Tyler’s accident she is passionate about telling her story with the hope that it will help or inspire at least one person who has lost a child.