I forgot about breathing. The constant cycle of life and death entering and leaving your body every moment of the day, from the first breath /scream announcing your life to the world until real death (Henry never got to experience that, but maybe it would have been too painful for him). I haven’t really breathed – I mean, really taken a breath – in over a month.
I forgot about the life part of it (inhale), and that the death part (exhale) only makes room for more life. And I’m asthmatic, so I really appreciate a good, healthy lungful of air.
A massage therapist reminded me of that yesterday. It was my first big solo outing where I engaged with someone who knew about Henry. The massage was a gift from my mom – I never would have made the appointment myself (what, me take care of myself? ppfffttttt).
The masseuse is the stereotype of “little old lady,” smiling and laughing at everything. Friendly and warm and teaching me different small ways to take care of myself, encouraging every smile and laugh that I had in our time together in her clean but cluttered 100 year-old house by the water.
She taught me again how to breathe, and how to picture my “happy” place (I visualize a deep, dark forest, with a clearing for the sun to break through over a small babbling stream. I usually see myself sitting by the edge of the stream on mossy boulders. I forgot about this place, always there when I need it in the recesses of my mind. One day, I’ll sit there with Henry). She also reminded me how rejuvenating a walk in the sunshine can be, and how to relax my jaw with techniques a client of hers, who was an actor, taught her, if ever I got tense. And I didn’t feel guilty thinking about doing any of these things.
My back muscles are already sore (a testament to carrying my stress and grief on my shoulders). But the bigger stress-relief remedies are there whenever I feel ready or compelled to just breathe in, then out.