My Most Treasured Gift
By Korinne Krieger
A handwritten thank you card hangs on the wall over my shoulder each and every time I sit down at my desk. Inside, in beautiful cursive writing, my Mom thanks me for the stylish bike clothes I gave her for her 63rd birthday. Mom loved to bike and couldn’t wait to use her new arm sleeves and socks. She ended the note saying, “As always, you are my most treasured gift.”
In April of 2015, at the age of 65, she was diagnosed with gastric cancer and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy in addition to an aggressive gastric surgery. The following April, Mom’s recovery well underway, our family was filled with gratitude and fueled by the words “remission” and “cured”.
Nine months later, on January 20th 2017, we devastatingly said goodbye to our loving, vivacious, and inspiring Mother.
I was in-between nursing jobs when Mom fell sick again. Almost as if it were meant to be, I was able to dedicate all of my time and energy to caring for her during the last few months of her life. In the blink of an eye, and 15-20 years earlier than I had ever imagined, our caregiver roles reversed. It was both an honor and a gift to have had the opportunity, day in and day out, to return the care, comfort, kindness, and love Mom had so effortlessly shown me throughout my life. This privilege, however, was also accompanied by feelings of overwhelming sadness, anger, frustration, and failure.
My healing process began when I finally allowed grief to take hold of me. With the realization that running and hiding were no longer my allies, I had to harness the care I so often give to others and reflect that internally. I had to forgive myself, the medical professionals that we trusted to care for Mom, and the universe for taking someone I loved with all of my heart and soul away from me.
A friend had told told me “when you lose someone who’s loved you, that person’s energy and spirit become a part of your being, and you become more powerful than you’ve ever been.” I found those words to be incredibly comforting and they inspired me to stop reacting to my nightmare and instead, become proactive in filling a piece of this permanent void with her goodness and beauty.
This inspiration is how I started my company, Comfort and Kindness. After my Mom’s death, I felt a deep desire to provide people with ways to help themselves and their loved ones. I was impressed by the impact aromatherapy had on my mom and the various ways it can be utilized. Whenever Mom smelled lavender she closed her eyes, took a deep breath in, lifted the corners of her mouth into a beautiful and gentle smile, and then slowly exhaled. Those were the subtle moments we strived for in her final days and those are the moments I want other people to feel or see in their loved ones.
With intention, Comfort and Kindness shares the initials of my mother, Cynthia Ann Krieger. I have taken the aromatherapy self care items that had the greatest impact on her and curated them into a variety of care kits. Our kits are designed with stress, anxiety, grief, pain, nausea, depression, and respiratory support in mind. They are travel sized and include seven different products that have been thoughtfully assembled to offer comfort, anytime and anywhere. Although my idea originated during my mom’s time in hospice, it’s reach goes beyond hospice patients. I wanted to create a care kit that everyone could benefit from.
With Comfort and Kindness came a newfound inspiration and source of creativity in my life. All I had ever known was nursing and it has been both a thrill and a challenge to take on something so different. I started running with my idea about a year ago and I now can appreciate the effort and dedication it takes to launch a company. I understand why businesses fail, what it takes for them to succeed, and why we pour everything we have into them.
My hope is to infuse these characteristics into Comfort and Kindness and share with the world the beautiful and loving woman my mother was. Fueled by the memories I have of her, the values she instilled in me, and her energy and spirit that has consumed me, I am honored to provide an extension of my most treasured gift.
Words by Korinne Krieger | Read the full story HERE
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