breathing lessons

i thought i knew how to breathe before last thursday.  there have been times i have felt unable to catch my breath and other times, i exhale long and slow, reminiscent of the days i would take a long drag off of a marlboro light at the spark of a match...inhale for good measure, exhale the blue-gray smoke and do it with great purpose, dammit.

i have belonged here for every minute i have been here, by molly's side.  helping her to the ladies' room, making jokes, dabbing her tears, wiping my own away with my sleeve as i look out the window.  there are times i have needed to remind myself to that next thing in front of me.

i have experienced moments of absolute panic rising inside of me:  rising like the blue raspberry slushy i poured for my daughter in the recovery room last night - a carbonated sugar water mixture pouring from a spout which you have to stop before the cups fill half way up because it continues to rise to overflowing. if you don't stop it in time, it spills over the edges and a mess needs to be cleaned up, sticky and uncomfortable. 

[like my panic attacks.]

today was a day filled with even breathing - 16 breaths a minute.  nothing jolting or jarring, nothing extraordinary to make my blood pressure rise like mount etna.  nothing alarming, just sailing through.  i had very little sleep last night and awoke at 6am, but forced myself to lay back down for a couple of hours, like a good "second wind" of sleep.  i needed it.

i have held my breath, taken deeper breaths and told my daughter to do the same when her respirations dropped very low due to her narcotic pain medication...she has been on oxygen and i have felt as though i have needed it...last night, i was unable to catch my breath because my body was racked in sobs and two hours later, breathed a huge sigh of relief when the nurse in recovery put a blanket from the warmer around my weary shoulders. 

i have also learned that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my God whispers instructions to me on how to inhale when i feel i am simply unable to. 

[it has been a week of breathing lessons.]

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