I have been thinking a lot about breathing lately. It’s just one of the many things our amazing bodies can do without any effort on our parts. We go to sleep every night knowing that our bodies will continue to take slow deep breaths and our hearts will continue to beat, sustaining life for one more day. What an incredible gift our bodies are!
I find myself placing my hand on my heart often and feel my breath as I try to remind myself to be present. Reminding myself to “slow down girl, this is important, you don’t want to miss this moment.” Sometimes I catch myself holding my breath or I notice that I am breathing a bit fast when I am feeling afraid or if I am racing through my day. There I go again, placing my hand on my heart, telling myself, “Just breath girl, your going to be just fine, all is well” and then a deep breath comes and I move into my heart space once again. So grateful for my breath.
I am reminded that it is the first thing we do when we enter this world and the last thing we do when we leave our beautiful bodies. I remember when I was in nursing school, I was honored to watch a C-section during my surgical rotation. I got to stand next to the father and we cried and hugged as their beautiful son took his first breath. I find that I am still moved to tears when a baby enters this world. Just ask my husband, I cry each time I watch the series, Call the Midwives, on Netflix.
I have also had the honor to bear witness to many brave souls taking their last breaths. I truly feel like it is a lot like birth, we labor coming into this world and we often labor going out. It’s all about the breath. Mothers focus on their breaths during labor and sigh a breath of relief as their child takes their first breath of life. Such a beautiful miracle. I feel the same at the end of life.
When someone passes and takes their last breath, I feel that it is the most sacred moment. I am honored and humbled to be present each time. It seems like time stands still at that moment. Complete silence. Waiting for the breath that will never come again.
I have learned, over time, to try to encourage people after their loved one has passed to pause, don’t rush this sacred moment. You will never get this time again. Slow down, grab a cup of tea, and sit with your loved one and hold that space for as long as you can. The phone calls can wait a bit longer. Open a window if it feels right for you, light a candle, say a prayer or do whatever else you are called to do or say.
It was the most diffcult thing for me to sit vigil for both my parents as they each had their own beautiful end of life experiences. I had the honor to watch them both take thier last breaths. I cherish knowing that they were there for my first breath and I got the gift of being able to be present for their last breath. It feels like yesterday but it has been a few years now. I just close my eyes and place my hand on my heart and I am there with them. A memory etched deeply in my heart.
None of us know when our last breath will be, but my hope is that you have the chance to live fully, living life in full color and breathe in all of the life you can while you are here on this beautiful planet. Place your hand on your heart knowing that you are alive today. What a gift!
Just breath my friend.