Breathe, babe, breathe


I knelt beside him. “Breathe, babe, breathe,” I said to him, little puffs accompanying each word…After running a bunch of tests they decided that John had…No heart attack, as they had first surmised.  All of that was pretty memorable. But what I remember the most vividly is this: later that day, I was driving the rental car down some minor highway, the snow surrounding us still, a house here and there, both John and Maya asleep, and I felt a soaring sense of euphoria. Not a hallucinogenic euphoria. It was an earthly euphoria, one of the most grounded feelings, in fact, that I can ever remember having.

This is my person. This is my baby. They are both safe, sleeping. This is the snow. These are my strong hands on the steering wheel. This is my life. This is all there is. And it is so fragile. And beyond enough.

It is these moments that we fear, these moments that are inevitable, that put us in touch with a proportionate sense of gratitude for just how lucky we are to live on this earth for even one day.

I’m not claiming that’s any consolation for the suffering — particularly for those who don’t get the comparatively gentle perspective borne of close calls, but the brutal realization of disease and death. I’m just acutely aware of how much more accurately we weigh our own small lives when we touch into just how vast and inevitable loss really is. Time slows down. Our senses are empowered. The sound of a peacefully sleeping person that you love becomes what it really is, the most sacred sound in the entire universe.

~ Courtney E. Martin, from The Shocking Clarity of Almost Losing it All (On Being, Dec 16, 2016)

Photo: Eric Rose


  1. So true. And so easy to take for granted. Enjoy the moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Made me cry…truth

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No words…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh that is it, right there. And, that “earthly euphoria”? Yes. How perfect is her description of a most sublime moment.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Tracey Carnahan says:


    Liked by 1 person

  6. An amazing piece and so, so true. Everything comes into sharp focus and the most mundane things suddenly become vivid and so precious you want to weep.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That sacred, simple sound. Too bad it takes a close call to truly appreciate.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We get those reminders every now and then, don’t we?

    Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Said it before and I’ll say it again, perspective is everything. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. roseanne333 says:

    So much beauty here in these words; sacred, if I may say so. I am riding the waves of emotion this week….. mourning with my dear cousin the loss of her 24 y.o. son to a heroin overdose and 5 days later, the sweetest joy welcoming our daughter home after a semester in Italy. All I could do was grab her and hold her tight.
    For both, there are no words.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. gratitude for the most sacred sound.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s so true, that we are never more present than when we face death. Nothing else matters when you are there in that moment, nothing could be more important. Keeping that sense of empowerment as he describes so beautifully is a constant practice. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Having spent two days that felt like a lifetime as my mother came out of her fog from open heart surgery , I know this feeling. It was mine alone – fear, relief, absolute – all of these thoughts and emotions bundled into one breath.
    It can be described but never truly shared. This was beautiful. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Each breath is a gift from the first inhale to the last exhale…I / we used to find ourselves sitting or standing at the side of her crib (& later at her toddler bed) watching the chest move to the rhythm of the heart beat fueling the lungs in the tiny premie body move up and down…so grateful for the miraculous gift…I still find myself today poking my head into her room, thankful she is sleeping, safe, warm and loved…

    Liked by 1 person

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