I remember that sigh. I heard it the other day when I took a deep breath in, then out. On the tail end of my inhale I felt that shake. That same shaky breath one gets after crying for a few hours or a few days. It’s like Grandpa Fred and I were breathing in sync. My Grandpa Fred had that shake in his breath whenever he took a deep breath. You didn’t just hear it, but you could feel it. It always haunted me and drew me into him at the same time. He endured much tragedy in his life and overcame many an adversity. His wife died when she was only 39. He raised 3 boys on his own. He lost his youngest son when he was only 29. He came over from Japan on his own on a barge when he was only 11 years old to join his parents. Then his mom died of influenza. His dad moved back to Japan. He kinda raised himself. He was interned with his new wife and young son to Gila Bend Internment Camp for the duration of WWII. You would hear all of that in his mere breath when you listened carefully enough. I have heard it in my own breath intermittantly these past months but have ignored it entirely. Willingly. It’s terrifying.
Ahh…that sigh is the sound of life slipping through your hands and it represents your complete inability to do anything about it. It’s the pain, suffering, and trauma wrapped up in the inability to breathe fully any longer. Afraid of what might happen if you do. Where there was once a smooth, gentle exhale, a choppy, interupted sigh has replaced it. Not only that. The oxygen flowing through your body now comes at you in a different flow. It’s neither here nor there. Sometimes (when you hold your breath) oxygen is restricted. Sometimes (when you hyperventilate) although the repetition of the breaths, there isn’t enough oxygen. Ugg…just need some more oxygen it seems.
I never knew what it was until now. As I muddle through this phase, I hope to hear less of that shake in my breath. I hope that I won’t have FEAR written across my face when my kids do something scary. I hope that I can get out of this, ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst’ mentality that I’m entrenched in. I hope that I can be more carefree again. I hope that the shake in my breath goes away.