Defining Moments | Sheryl Steines

Defining Moments

When my daughter died she was eleven months old. It was time for her because her tiny body was no longer able to sustain itself, to breathe, to process food, to laugh or to cry. She was born with broken muscles and for a time, she appeared to be getting stronger, but then as we knew it would happen, her muscles degenerated, weakened until they could no longer do what they were meant to do. She died at home as we wanted her to, safe and loved.

Her death didn't haunt me quite as much as the moment, that one single moment when I went from realizing that my harrowing pregnancy was over and knowing that there was something seriously wrong with my child. It was a period of time shorter than what takes me to blink or to take a single breath. But that piece of time, small and unnoticeable where I went from feeling joy to asking the question “Now what?” It was long enough.

I was defined by that moment, I obsessed about it for years after she died because I didn't understand how everything could go so wrong. It made me angry, it made me cry. I poured everything I had into remembering that moment. It was torment.

Allowing myself to become a victim of that moment effected how I conducted my life. It weakened my resolve, it made me not want to experience life, because to live and experience opens you to hurt and sometimes to hell. I didn't want to experience anything like that again. It took many years for me to realize that remembering and letting that single moment in, examining and reliving it, held me back. With time, I could see that it was a bad memory to cling to. I needed to let go.

Saturday night was the Yahrrzeit of my daughter's death. We honor that memory every year, recounting her life, ensuring that her short time on Earth mattered. I think about her every year and for the longest time, I could only dwell on that single moment thinking that would be my memory to her. But she isn't about that second of time and either am I. Now I chose to remember her.

But that’s the thing about defining moments. They will either define us or we will define them. You can either be a victim or you can take charge of that moment. I lived the last decade and a half as a victim of circumstance and let my circumstance rule me. I no longer let that happen.

I took the job that I did, this sales position that makes me uncomfortable, because the only way to battle fear is by simply overcoming it; making the phone call before you chicken out and find something else to do. I will no longer be defined by that single moment in my life. I’m far more than that moment. – Introvert to Sales Goddess

That comes from my book Introvert to Sales Goddess as I examine what I'm fearful. My fear, my lack of confidence, my inability to move forward was partially tied to that single moment and possibly other single moments in my past. We should never be defined by those moments. They are part of our make up but they aren't wholly us. I don't think about that moment the way I once did, it no longer fills several waking moments, it no longer haunts me in my sleep. I've moved on from the moment finding me in my waking life. Though it doesn't haunt my dreams, it did affect how I went about the business of my day-to-day life.

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