As I write this a fire truck makes its hasty way in the distance. I know it is hasty because the sirens are wailing, cutting long and sharp shards of worry in the night. I know, because they came to our doorstep a couple of days ago and painted the pavement a temporary flickering red.
There’s no beast wilder than fear for your child’s life. It tears you to pieces in a matter of seconds and you have almost nothing to fight back with but your bare soul, already shredded by thoughts you don’t want to decipher, pretending you don’t understand them. Like walking on a tight rope with nothingness underneath, you have to look at the rope to keep going, not at the seemingly empty space below.
Don’t lose hope, they say and you try hard not to. But just like driving in thick fast-plopping rain with tired, broken wipers, you can barely see ahead and you keep driving because you can’t stop. But how keep going, since you cannot see much. Hoping you will not lose control, hoping you can make it is all you have; that’s how.
It’s like that. Having a sick child that struggles for his every breath, taking but shallow labored ones as if there is a shortage of air around him, it’s a ride so draining that nothing comes close to it.
Sasha’s recent asthma attack marked me in many ways. I am grateful to have him back, I am grateful to see him laugh, raspy voice and all, but most of all, I am aware that seeing him breathe keeps my breathing steady.
Spending the night in the hospital, monitoring screens with lines and numbers and feeling my heart sink every time numbers dropped too low because Sasha’s tired body could not breathe the oxygen in, it all drove home the simple truth we proclaim often but forget almost every time: Live every day, live it fully as if it’s your last.
We are fragile and strong at the same time, we ask for help and pray that living nightmares end and ask others to pray for us too, we break down in tears when it is all over because now we are taught to fear more than before and the taste of fear takes longer to dissipate. Yet a gift is a gift, and so was Sasha’s ability to hold his breathing steady after hours of struggle. It’s when you can forget the pain to make room for gratefulness.
You have at least one reason to be grateful at this very moment. I hope that you do. You can breathe, no struggle, no gasping, no panic. Be grateful. The world becomes a better place when we remember the often forgotten yet vital things. Gifts. Like breathing… If you can, say a prayer for those who can’t. It will reach them. I know it will because a couple of days ago we had many coming our way…