Just Breathe

Moving On

New beginnings can be exciting. They can also be rather frightening.

New beginnings provide us the opportunity to become more than what we are while retaining that which is most meaningful to us from the past. At times as we prepare for that new beginning, the abyss of the unknowns or the leaving behind of things and people we loved, we can be halted in our journey or perhaps suffer a minute hesitation.

When such a situation arises, we are very lucky if we have someone nearby to remind us of a very simple fact. To. Just. Breathe. The act will calm us–keep us focused on that new beginning.

Sandy, a dear friend of mine, one I’ve had since third grade, became a widow a few months ago. She’d been a wife for fifty years, knew her husband for several years prior to that. Her husband’s death thrust her into remaking her life. In the weeks since then, she’s made several decisions—knowing her as well as I do, this is the first time in her life when her decisions were based solely on what she wanted and needed.

That had to be scary. And exciting.

One thing she knew for sure: she wanted to be back in her hometown, with her children and grandchildren and those forever friends she’s had since grade school. She found the perfect place to live and bought it. Then as she told me, “Spent money like a drunken sailor,” to buy some new furniture that she liked, that fit her new home and her new beginning.

But it was frightening. She was leaving a part of her behind as she walked into this new life. When we talked about it, I listened and then reminded her that what she was leaving behind was still in her heart and in her memory. Her hubby would want her to move on, be happy, be with those she loves.

Sandy and her husband raised a fine family. They miss their father just as Sandy does. But they’re very happy she’s returning to them, moving closer to them. I think it helps them feel their family bond tightens up that void of their dad’s death, gets filled with their mom being closer. Nearer them—so they can enjoy her and watch over her just as she watched over them and her beloved husband.

But as I mentioned at the start of this post, new beginnings can be scary. The day came when the final papers would be signed and the new home would officially be Sandy’s. Accompanied by her eldest son and daughter, Sandy experienced a bit of panic at the closing.

“Just breathe, Mom,” her son said to her.

Sandy did as he urged. This huge moment occurred when her old and new life converged. With her signature, she officially has begun on her new path in life.

Sandy & I being silly

I’m so proud of her for grappling with her grief and not letting it best her, for forging a new pathway for herself, for making plans to do things she will enjoy. She deserves many years to explore and enjoy this new self. So does her family. So do her friends.

Life is not always easy for many of us. At times we may feel we can’t move forward because of frustration, anger, loss, whatever. However, it we allow ourselves to stay swamped in such feelings, we won’t grow, become stronger, learn something from what we are going through. “Just breathing” is that moment when we allow our minds to move beyond the now to refocus on what might be, to find solutions to our situation, to determine what it is we can do differently. In those cases, breathing takes longer than a single breath.

But it’s the start of a process.

Or sometimes it’s just the need to breathe, to calm down, to gather our energy.

I hope you all have someone in your lives to remind you when you need it: Just. Breathe.

Explore posts in the same categories: Life Lessons

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12 Comments on “Just Breathe”

  1. Elle J Rossi Says:

    Great post! I’m fortunate enough to have a couple people in my life who not only remind, but force me to breathe.

  2. Linda Says:

    Beautifully said…Mom is lucky to have a wonderful friend in you. Thank you for acknowledging the difficulty of the journey she has been on since Dad passed (and prior to that as well). The first step is often the hardest, but taking it with those who love you often makes it just a bit easier.

  3. Edie Ramer Says:

    Mary Jo, you’re one of the wisest women I know. Beautiful post!

  4. caseyclifford Says:


    Consider yourself very fortunate to have a few people in your life who keep you focused through all situations. No matter how strong we might be, we all can use those little reminders.

    Thanks for stopping by and have a great week. You should be loving this weather!

  5. caseyclifford Says:


    Next stop is reading your post about Goodreads PR. If I’m wise, you are the most savvy.

    Stay cool.

  6. caseyclifford Says:


    One of the greatest gifts in my life was finding your mother as my friend, or as we sometimes refer to ourselves as “sisters of the heart.” She’s a strong woman made stronger by the depth of love which has always surrounded her–and I’m thinking of you and your siblings who were in the trenches with your mom and dad during the last few, very difficult years of his life.

  7. Anne Parent Says:


    What an amazing tribute to your friend. And, it spoke to me in a very personal way. Thank you for reminding me to Just Breathe.
    Lots of love!

  8. caseyclifford Says:


    Amazing tributes are easy to write when the subject is one. 🙂

    I’m so glad it touched you and reminded you to just breathe. That’s such a powerful but pithy statement.

  9. Kathy Follensbee Says:

    Mary Jo,
    Thank you so very much for understanding my Mom as well as you do. I know she drew quite a bit of strength from you. You’re just such a good friend to her. Bless you for always being there for her!

    Kathy Jo

  10. caseyclifford Says:


    Your mother is sister, friend, heart of my heart. We’ve known each other so long, we could finish each other’s sentences and thoughts. When I’ve needed strength, she’s been there for me. No matter how bad or weak I am, she still loves and supports me.

    I’m honored to call her friend. 🙂

  11. Jane Says:

    Mary Jo,

    You write beautifully and make all of us proud!!


  12. Casey Says:


    Welcome to my cyber home. So glad you found me. Thanks for the compliment.

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