This story originally appeared at InspireMore.
A loving, supportive mom is one of the best gifts anyone will ever get. If we’re lucky, our mom starts loving us even before we’re born, still loves us while we’re mad at her and when we tell her she doesn’t understand, and continues loving us long after we’ve moved out on our own. There’s nothing quite like the love of a mother.
Long after timetables say that we should be able to handle our lives on our own, Mom is still ready with a listening ear and encouraging words. For those of us lucky enough to have a mom like this, we usually grow to appreciate her more as we get older.
This was the case for Nikki Pennington, whose mom had always been an anchor for her, especially during the panic attacks that plagued her throughout her life. Nikki’s mom was always ready to listen, to comfort, and to stand by Nikki no matter how panicked or anxious she became. Nikki’s mom always knew just what to say to soothe her.
When Nikki’s mom passed away, Nikki thought she’d lost her rock. But it turned out that her mother had planned ahead and left her daughter one final gift by way of her son-in-law.
Nikki shared about her mother’s final surprise on her blog. Read it here in her own words below:
“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 about her that I never knew 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.”
Nikki’s mom wanted to make sure Nikki had her support even after she would be able to give it. The note to Nikki’s husband meant that Mom might have fewer conversations with Nikki and give up some of her precious time with her daughter, but Mom knew it was worth it to make sure that Nikki always had someone who knew just how to love and support her. Her gift is a beautiful picture of selfless love. Thank you for sharing, Nikki!