Do you ever get the feeling that you can’t breathe? That no matter how hard you inhale, no matter how much air you pull in to your lungs, it’s not enough? A feeling that you’re suffocating, even when you’re breathing? That pretty much sums up how I felt for most of September. I need October to be different. To be better. I need to be able to breathe in the fresh, crisp air of fall and feel that my lungs are finally satiated.
I started the month with a nasty staph infection. The infection and double antibiotics used to treat it knocked me on my ass for weeks. I felt awful. I was exhausted. I took more sick leave in the first two weeks than I have in the last 10 years (excluding time off for knee surgeries). When I did go back to work, it was exhausting. I would go to the office, work for eight hours, come home to sleep for four hours, get up for dinner and go right back to bed for the night. It’s only been in the last 10 days or so that I’ve really felt like myself.
Somewhere in there, my little brother–someone who is so much like me, it’s scary– and his wife suffered through a miscarriage. It was devastating. I hate seeing people hurt and knowing there is not a thing on earth I can do to ease their pain.
Then. Then my dad passed away early last Friday. It was unexpected. And it blindsided me. Even after I got the call that he’d been admitted to the ICU, I didn’t think the end was near. But he was there barely more than 48 hours before the doctors told us he’d suffered extensive and irreparable brain damage. He was not breathing on his own. I watched and wept as they removed the life support, and he took his last breaths. Now, I find myself tearing up at the most random times. When I see a guy with a grey beard standing in front of me in the grocery store. When I hear a certain song on the radio. When someone softly says, “Oh, I just heard…”
I know that things will get better. I know that time will march on and the pain of the last week will eventually fade.
But right now, I need a chance to catch my breath.