Breathing Lessons

I have finally learned to breathe.

It took a long time to get here. I started

holding my breath as a small child when something hurt me.

It somehow carried me through the pain.

For instance if i scraped my knee and it bled, i would

hold my breath and my knee at the same time until the wave

of pain subsided.

I liked to see how long i could hold my breath under water in

the swimming pool as a kid until my lungs started to burn and

i would thrust upward and burst the surface panting for air.

Despite what people advised, when i started laboring with

my first child i held my breath with every contraction. There was

no panting dog breath in me.

I was going to fight it tooth and nail.

When my daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease called

Tuberous Sclerosis i held my breath while the Doctor gave me the

devastating news. The very air had been sucked from the room. It

didn’t matter. In those heart rendering moments, i ceased to exist.

Why did i need air to breath when everything i knew was torn asunder?

Have you ever cried and no tears came? Has a wave of pain ever gripped you

forcibly that it brought you to your knees?

This is what learning my baby had a disease that would ultimately cause

seizures, severe mental handicap, autism and epilepsy, did to me.

I held my breath when she took her first toddling step at the age of

nineteen months because i was afraid she would fall. I held my breath

through her first seizure and everyone after that because i was afraid

i would lose her.  I held my breath and watched the clock tick as

she lay on the operating table enduring yet another surgery.

Always holding. Never breathing.

Then came the news that her older brother was killed in a car

accident at 25. I held my breath and uttered no sound as i walked

into the small viewing room at the hospital room to say goodbye.

How could i breathe when my son, my precious, precious, boy was

lying there to wake no more?

I was a broken shell that was devoid of feeling.

As i have faced these cruelties of fate i have taken breathing lessons.

I have learned that we have no control over the things that happen to

us and no one is immune to pain and suffering. It is only when we learn to’

breathe through the pain. To face it head on that we can truly learn to

enjoy life. What we endure truly makes us stronger.

My breathing lessons started out shaky because i was absorbing the pain

and not resisting it. I recognize that to move past pain of any kind we must

first “feel” it. We must acknowledge it for what it is and cope with it.

I breathe deeply now. Big deep encompassing breaths that fill my lungs.

Some days they are released in frustrated sighs that lift my bangs upwards.

Other days they are deep breaths of pleasure because it’s a great day with

no seizures, meltdowns and everything seems to roll smoothly along.

The most important thing i have learned is to

“Just breathe.”

bill pic 12 (2)

William T. Cummings II

(Bill or Billy) to his friends.

Sunrise:Nov, 4th 1983

Sunset: May, 16th 2009

I miss you son.


Dac. Her brother is her guardian angel now.


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