Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Exhale Slowly

Ever hold your breath, just because you wanted to see how long you could? Remember what it felt like when you let air rush into your lungs afterwards? Get a little light headed probably, maybe even a little dizzy. Imagine every day of your life feeling the same way.

I remember as a kid playing that game with friends. I would usually burst into giggle and lose the game, but I remember a couple of times getting fuzzy and seeing white specks because I didn't want to give up. I hadn't learn to take a slow deep breath, I just sucked all the air I could get in and gulped for more.

Feeling grief on a daily basis is like that. In the beginning I was numb and couldn't feel the pain, I was in so much pain I didn't realize the feeling of pure and utter devastation and helplessness. I was grateful God had blanketed me in a fog of protection. Later, I learned when the fog had cleared, the presence of the day was not always welcoming and friendly. It could often sweep over me and take my breath away, remembering my last day with Shanny. For weeks I would replay that day and try to awaken to a different outcome. Maybe, she was on a long trip or vacation. Maybe, she is very ill, but we can get her back to health and she will be home from the hospital soon. But every day, took the next and nothing changed.

And then one day, I lay awake and began to breathe slowly. I focused my energy on my breathing and tried to take slow. deep breaths and feeling less anxious and fearful of the dawn that was sure to come.

As I openend my eyes I realized, it was a new day and I had to choose-stay in bed holding my breath and waiting for numbness or exhale and try to function. In the past, the choice was easy, I would duck under the covers and reclaim fitfull sleep. At least there I could pretend my life had not changed and become so painful. But, this was a new day, and I chose to breathe.
For those of us that know this pain, breathing can be a task. I had to remind myself some days how to breathe, so lost was I in the grief. Today, I would breathe in  and exhale slowly-knowing I was beginning a new journey in reality. I had prayed in earnest to find the courage to face this day. I knew it would come and I had requested assistance with finding the strength to immerse myself in the challenge of finding my way. Many people were praying for me and I could feel the presence and the energy begin to enter my body.
I wasn't sure how long the feeling would last, so I dressed and began to walk through the house, recognizing things I had left undone for the better part of six weeks. I hadn't been out of the house much, and I found dust and clutter almost comforting. Things I hadn't touched since before Shannon left this world were still sitting in the dining room. Here it was the end of March and I hadn't given the grand kids their Valentines baskets with goodies.

Some would say I had gone off the deep end, or totally lost it. For a while, I had. But I was back now, and just beginning a journey of grief and learning how to cope without my daughter of 34 years. First things first, I had to learn how to breathe in and exhale slowly.

As always, I would continue to pray-because I was assured of the power of prayer and faith as I began my journey.