Just Breathe


I often have thoughts of positivity and forward thinking and I am so grateful for those feelings propelling me forward. Sometimes things in our lives hit us hard and knock the steam out of our engines. We slow down, not because we want to, but because grief gives us no choice.

My mother used to read me a story when I was a child called The Little Engine That Could. The little engine chugged up the hill saying to himself “I think I can, I think I can,” and one day he finally made it. That is going to be me. But right now I feel like I am at the bottom of the hill looking up. And today- even though I had an honest day’s work and I took care of the necessities of the day- I’m having a hard time breathing. So tonight I am going to focus on just that.

For me, and I am curious as to whether or not others feel the same, grief is a physical sickness. Grief sets in and feels awful. You suffer a setback and often times you don’t see it coming and the weight of it all tips you over the edge and the gains you’ve made slip through your fingers for a moment, a day, or longer. Grief feels like a heaviness in the chest and shoulders. It is slowed functioning. Slowed coordination. Weighted eyes. Slowed response. Tightness in the throat. And most of all- a real sense that my body is asking for my mind’s help in breathing. Sometimes the process of healing goes all the way back to just breathing and being still.

When grief is surrounding your heart~ sometimes the answer is just to be still, clear the mind, and breathe. Learning to just breathe is not easy.   The day gets in the way and the mind cannot settle. But if you think about going back to simplicity- it is the first thing you do when you enter this world and the last thing you do when you leave it. In my life I have seen my son take his first breath and my husband take his last. So tonight – I will breathe out and let go of the day and the pain and loss and absence, and sit still and let love and gratitude come back to once again fill my heart.

7 thoughts on “Just Breathe

  1. Hi Holly,
    I’ve recently found you through the grief website. I’ve read a few of your writings and I just wanted to say thank you…it feels good to read the writing of someone who understands how I feel. My husband passed away last December and I still struggle most days…I’m just having a hard time accepting it. His death was totally unexpected and we didn’t have time to talk or say good bye. I miss him every minute of every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do understand. And know that these early months are like this. And your situation is at a different level. Not worse or better, just different. And that’s because his life ended suddenly. I had eight years to worry. So every person is different and every grief is different and it may take you awhile to start feeling better because of the shock you must feel. The tenet on acceptance is hard for people like you because you didn’t have time to say goodbye. Breathe through these moments and hours and days if you have to. But do know something~ you will get better. It takes work. And it takes time. But keep moving forward. And you will get there. Keep in touch with us at GA. I have big hopes for the organization.


  2. My sister , my best friend, passed away in May from cancer. Seeing her in pain for ten years and especially the last few weeks was truly unbearable. unfortunately those are the bad memories right now that I can’t let go, can’t seem to find all the good memories quite yet, because they were lots of them 😢 Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They’re very comforting somedays when I can’t seem to get up and keep going 👍🏼


  3. Hi Holly. Thanks for your words. Some days are utterly unbearable. We lost our 24yr old son unexpectedly almost 2 yrs ago. Although the initial shock has subsided I find myself still in a haze. Many friends have all but left. It’s hard to find someone to just listen to what I may be going through. I have prods where life goes along, I’m looking forward to things, then boom I completely fall apart and don’t want to be around or talk to anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin- do you know what a riptide is? I bet you do because grief pulls the same on our hearts. And instead of fighting it- you must move with it because you can’t fight against it and win. You know that too I bet.
      About your friends. Open up and tell them the riptide has you at the moment but eventually it will swing me out into calm waters. Then I can swim over and hang out with you for awhile. Make sense? Just be honest with them and the ones who stay- are meant to be in your life. And the ones who see fear – will run away. And don’t chase after them. There’s new ones to be made in this time. Ones without experience of our past. But will help you learn that new normal for you.

      All I say is- don’t fight it- ride it. And sift through the friend pile and find the shiny ones. Keep them.


    • Hi Kevin,
      We lost our 22 year old son five months ago in a motorcycle accident. I truly feel and understand your pain. I have found that talking to people who have also lost a child has been so helpful. Have you heard of the organization Compassionate Friends? It is an organization for parents who have lost children and there is a sibling component as well. There may or may not be one where you live, but there are also online support groups. You might want to check it out if you have not already done so. Hugs and peace to you…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hear many wonderful things about this group. I thought it was for child loss only? I lost my husband. I send people to them regularly and also tell them about Grief Anonymous because you all need all the help you can get. Thank you for mentioning this and I will contact them.


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