I’m a day late on this one because yesterday I chose to use my breath chatting with friends, laughing, cheering on Arsenal, and debating various subjects like gender identity, abortion and the legalisation of drugs. It was a good day.
I have taken millions of breaths since 4:26am on 26th June 2015 when Isobel failed to take her first. Some have been desperately sad breaths, snatched between sobs with my chest convulsing. Some have been angry breaths, violently exhaled in a stream of rage. Some have been terrified anxious breaths, seemingly never deep enough to calm my pounding heart. Regardless of the emotion, the breath continues – not by my choice, but driven by a reflex from a body that still wants to live.
It’s too soon to say where this defiantly living body and my breath will take me; how this experience of grieving will evolve or even how I would like it to. I’m still at the stage where I haven’t fully accepted that this is something I have to do at all. I have been told I need to have patience as well as strength but I am not a patient person. I have never been one for the slow slog toward the distant reward. My style has always been more about instant gratification. I can’t imagine that this is a style that will work for grieving. Part of me wants to be the model bereaved mother, to do everything ‘right’, progress neatly though all the stages and emerge beautifully transformed on the other side. Another part of me can’t be bothered with any of it, and just wants to hibernate and remain authentically gnarled and utterly broken. What will actually happen? My chest will rise, my chest will fall and we will see.