Some days are better than others.
After weeks of watching the news, navigating endless COVID-19 updates sent to me by my mother, and trying to keep my family inside and safe despite the whining and pleading (“But mom, why can’t I just…”), I lost it.
Last night, I had a grief attack.
I had been holding steady, meditating, and doing breathwork, staying with the flow of life’s current climate.
However, yesterday, I decided to let the grief sink in. I decided to hold space for the sadness. There were a few unexpected things that happened, triggering the anger and frustration that I felt, feeding it so that facing it was unavoidable. I took time to sit with it, each breath taking me deeper into the darkness.
When I finally made it to bed, quietly and undramatically, I put on a meditation by Tara Brach. As she began, I started to cry. The tears got bigger and bigger, and soon, I found myself coughing uncontrollably, unable to catch my breath. My reaction was huge, and shifted to super dramatic and scary. As it unrolled, it felt like a steam train with no brakes. We were going all the way, me and my grief.
It wasn’t panic, it was sadness. I didn’t want to escape it, or make it go away. It needed space and time to release. I walked to the wall dividing my bedroom from the hallway and leaned against it. As I sobbed, I kept repeating, “Please, God, help me.” It was the only thing that steadied my breath. I didn’t want to be hugged or held; I wanted to walk through the storm alone.
It took me over an hour for me to catch my breath, feeling unable to breathe with ease. I vacillated between coughing and grasping for breath, and praying.
My husband brought me hot water, and as I drank it, I felt the steam coming off the mug moistening my face.
Water. Mug. Steam.
He offered to give me a throat lozenge, but I knew that this wasn’t that kind of cough. It was a cough of surrender, grief for those grasping for breath, grief for those who’ve died, grief for what lies ahead. No lozenge would be able to mute that sadness.
At 2:41 a.m., I felt a shift in my endurance. I know because I looked at the time and said, “Finally,” followed by, “Man, it’s so late.”
I settled in and accepted the chaos of the unknown, of life. I haven’t done a yoga class or a Pilates class since quarantine. I haven’t read a book. I haven’t cleaned the house. I’ve cooked, taken baths, and binge-watched “Tiger King” by the fire. I’ve done my daily practice of meditation and breathwork. I’ve sat with the knowledge that we are small. We are little specks of light here to fulfill our destiny, but we don’t control the timeline.
I gave myself space to unravel into the depths of letting go.
And it felt really good.