…and Finally Going

God has been working on me, with me, and carrying me. His presence is evident to me in more ways than I can count. Honestly, sometimes the lessons are coming at me so fast and furious that it almost causes me to shut down because it’s more than I can swallow.

Easter came and went and we made it. I have been counting down the days until Mother’s Day, anxious for it to arrive and anxious to get through it. This was always Emmer’s special day where we rearranged our day to be with her however she wanted. With three generations of Moms now at two, it fell on my shoulders and Mom’s shoulders to decide how to celebrate Mother’s Day, which included remembering all that Emmer was and will continue to be through our lives.

The weatherman predicted rain, but as usual, he was wrong. It was a gorgeous day with sunshine and just the right amount of wind to keep it cool. Johnny grilled fabulous pineapple teriyaki burgers and shrimp skewers while we munched on Emmer’s favorite cheese straws. We topped off dinner with Hershey’s golden nuggets. For all who knew Emmer, I suspect you have already pictured in your head the small delicate gold basket that always held just a few chocolates which she always offered anytime you visited. We made it, and I think when I fell into bed Sunday night I finally felt myself exhale.

Yesterday I felt like I was ready to turn the page to a new chapter and take another step forward. Moving past Mother’s Day had given me strength. Running has been my “go-to” for almost 9 years. But I hadn’t run since Christmas. I had been out of town and then Emmer got sick. After she died, for a lot of reasons, I just didn’t want to run. Life and a busy sports schedule are keeping me at the ballpark every Saturday and the road had no appeal. A bit of fear about a seizure while running alone was creeping in as well. In my Mom’s ever so subtle way of encouraging me to run again she gave me a new pair of running shoes for Mother’s Day. Yesterday I decided my shoes needed breaking in. I laced them up and put on my new running shirt Mom bought me from the Boston Marathon Store on Boylston just a week after the bombings. I headed out the back door and hit start on my watch. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other. After about a half mile it began to feel a bit familiar. My goal wasn’t speed and it wasn’t distance. My goal was to just get the feel of the pavement. A little over 3 miles later I was back home. My shoulders felt a bit lighter and I think I may have been standing a little taller as I walked down the driveway cooling off.

I won’t promise myself or anyone else that I will be on the road today, but in time I will have the strength and the desire to return to regular programming. Yesterday’s run was a step in that direction. Grieving, growing, grooming, and now finally going. I’m not going to rush anything, because that accomplishes nothing. I’m taking my time, learning as I move forward and making sure that I take steps forward in my time the way that I need to. Emmer was a tremendous source of strength for me. Her loss is huge but I’m learning each day how to channel her strength and use it to propel me forward.

Grieving, growing, grooming and going. One day at a time, one step at a time. It’s all progress.


Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, May 2013


It’s About Perspective

Sitting here on eve of Mother’s Day, I can’t really fathom what tomorrow will feel like without Emmer. I can’t imagine not eating lunch at the Pines. I can’t remember a Mother’s Day that I didn’t spend with my Mom and my Grandmother. We will miss her, no doubt.

I’m finding great joy in knowing that Emmer will celebrate this Mother’s Day with her own Mother! What joy, what joy! I have a feeling of how much she has missed her Mom all these years and I can’t imagine the celebration surrounding their reunion.

As Mom and I continue to figure out life as two generations instead of three, we draw on the strength we were taught from the best. Lunch tomorrow won’t be the same, but in her honor we will enjoy a few of Emmer’s favorite treats and we will celebrate the joy she is experiencing with her own Mom.


So thankful for a wonderful Mother’s Day Celebration last year!


Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, May 2013

Reflections from Mother’s Day 2011

This was a special Mother’s Day for our family. This year I celebrated with my Mom and my Grandmother….three generations with a combined age of  200 years! Now that’s a lot of life! Last year was hard on the women in my family. 2010 gave each of us our own challenges and as mothers and daughters do, we shared each other’s burdens and struggles. My Mom’s cancer reared it’s head in January and she was in various chemotherapy treatments through August. We were overjoyed when the doctor ended her treatment ahead of schedule given the successful results of the chemo. Just as we were ready to breathe a sigh of relief and greet the end of chemo, my Grandmother’s health began to decline. As she became weaker we realized it was time to make the tough decision for her to move out of her independent living apartment which had been her home for 23 years. We began the physically challenging and emotionally grueling task of emptying out her apartment and settling her into a small room in the health care wing of her retirement community. Last year I began to experience some new side effects from my brain injury as well as my epilepsy. I had to make adjustments to my medication to find the perfect concoction that is just enough to stop seizures while limiting the annoying side effects of the medication. Extensive neurological testing determined the permanent extent of my brain injury and I had to accept the harsh reality of change. That was hard…that was very, very hard.

Life is unpredictable. I don’t know when my Mom’s cancer may come back. I don’t know how much longer I have with my Grandmother. I don’t know when I will have another seizure. This Mother’s Day we had a table for three. Will our table next year be different? Thoughts of the unknown can permeate my mind…if I allow it. I choose not to allow it. I choose to focus my attention on what I can do and what I can change, for myself and for those that I love.

Last year was hard. This is a new year. I’m going to make every day count. I’m going to run. I’m going to celebrate. I’m going to run one step at a time towards a cure for cancer….because I can.

© Gatewood Campbell, June 2011