Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just Breathe

"Shhhhh, Crackle, shhhh, crackle"

I am so tired but I sit wide awake, listening to the sound of your breathing. I hate that you have asthma. I struggled with it throughout my childhood and hated the constant feeling of losing my breath. I know exactly how you feel. I prep the nebulizer so you can get some relief. I watch your throat retract and I worry. I feel my lungs tighten in sympathy and stress. I show you how to breathe deeply and I bang on your lungs. I'm struck by deja vu. I remember sitting in this spot before and I realize that 30 years ago, I was like Baby and my mom was sitting like me. Dark circles under her eyes, her hand on my back-not necessarily for comfort-but as a way to confirm that I was still breathing.

I fall asleep sitting up with my arm outstretched to you. I wake up at some ungodly hour. "Shhh. Shhh. Shhh." Still very shallow breathing but your color is good. I'll let you sleep a bit more before another treatment. I start to stand and I feel my neck and back ache, mostly because you were digging your feet into me.

I walk around the house in complete darkness. It's my nightly check. I stare down at each innocent face and feel the tension leave my shoulders. I crawl into bed and finally, fitfully sleep.

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