Right now, my view from the bedside of patient care looks messy.
The past two weeks I have gone to work each day and considered that everyone I care for might be infectious. I am an Obstetrical nurse (OBRN). I go to work because I am called to serve. Stepping up to serve as new life is born amidst this pandemic brings to light just what a miracle life really is.
My patients have been faced with the prospect of birthing alone with me (a total stranger) while loved ones stay home in quarantine.
It’s an honor to serve birthing women and their newborns at this time. Just the other day I received a woman in labor about to deliver with no prior COVID-19 screening. Without a mask, gown, or gloves, I cared for her. I’m counting ahead 14 days…will I get Coronavirus? Am I currently a carrier? And what, you might ask, do I do so I can sleep at night and not be consumed by fear?
This is what I will tell you:
Underneath the fear of this virus and all its possible destruction of life as you know it, lies the true fear. The fear of death. Which of you has sat and held death’s hand? Which of you has had that stark, cold conversation with death? I converse daily with death, so death and I have become great friends. But it wasn’t always that way.
I walked through The Five Stages of Grief as I got closer to acceptance with greeting death. My life changed in subtle and profound ways. You see, I was not given a death diagnosis or the threat of death of a loved one to catapult me into a daily death greeting. I simply took it on in my meditation practice. I can see now how this practice is helping me in the current state of the world and so I share with you a hint for how to walk through this wildfire we seem to be walking through while blindfolded: breathe.
Let as many breaths unfold through your body as you are able. Acknowledge how precious each breath is without clinging, and how each breath could be your last and final one, and how okay that would be.
In doing this, let all the fear rise, and come back to the breath. Let all the feeling overflow, and come back to the breath. Let memory, images, and sound cascade around and within you, and come back to the breath.
Breathe over and over for all the days you have left with this miracle called life. Greet death as your friend and watch the fear fall away. Give birth to a new way to live your human life. We all started out here with an inhale and we will leave with an exhale.
If this pandemic is pushing all your fear buttons and taking your breath away, remember to breathe. Breath is your birthright.