Breathing Through the Fear

Sometimes you just have to feel the fear and let it wash over you

Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

I wrote yesterday about keeping a sense of humor about my current situation of having had asbestos exposure in my home, writing about how it takes time for asbestos to get you, how something else may likely get me before then, given my age. All true.

The fear that this brings up is also true. Feelings come in waves. The wave this morning is one of fear. 

I love life, with all of its bittersweet moments and ups and downs. And, although I know that I will die, I’m not wanting to hurry this along at all. So when realities happen that our bodies face, realities that can cause illnesses and breakdown, (in addition to the aging process that is already going on, ) then my constant companion in this life of fear comes back into the foreground.

I say constant companion because I have carried anxiety for all of my life. I have pushed through it to carry on, and acknowledge that it is still there with me. I can point out where I learned this, but the fact is that it is here with me. And this morning it is truly sitting right beside me with its warnings, dreads, and whisperings of looming possible catastrophe.

So here we sit, my fear and I. I am afraid of this likely asbestos exposure that is now an issue, given that the furnace inspection person found a partially open duct that does indeed have asbestos. My house is older, built in 1955, when this was used in houses. Great for fireproofing. Not so great for human lungs.

I have no symptoms, but have been strongly encouraged by several friends to notify my primary care doctor about this recent situation, in order for her to suggest any tests that she may think are necessary. 

I emailed my doctor this morning. Funny how that makes this all more real, makes it harder to for me to deny and to push it into the background. It’s real, this whole asbestos thing. It has happened. I can’t deny it at the moment. I can’t push it out of my awareness at this moment. And I feel fear. How human. How vulnerable. How very real and present and in the moment. And how this moment is not one of my favorite ones.

Things happen in life. People get a diagnosis that changes everything in the blink of an eye. Accidents happen that change everything for someone and their family. People end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and life turns upside down. Shit happens. Life happens. 

Having worked in a county nursing home where I would work with patients as young as 18 who were now quadriplegic due to gunshots, I have seen human tragedy up close and personal. I have also seen the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of these unspeakable tragedies. I was, and still am, in awe of the courage and spirit that I got to witness. 

Since I retired from this intense, demanding and rewarding work several years ago, I have truly begun to find my Voice. Both in written word and in art. The Self that was there so long ago , the one that had to submerge due to work and life’s demands, has emerged again. I have been so very grateful and humbled by this. Such joy and beauty.

Today I feel the other side of life, of random things that occur, of life being itself and things happening. I feel deep fear. And awareness on a different level of how brief our time on earth really is. How quickly it can change and be taken away. How precious each moment is. How precious each breath is. I am particularly aware of the preciousness of breath at this moment. Inhaling and exhaling. Something that we can so easily take for granted. 

So I must, and do, acknowledge this fear. Accept that this is part of the whole messy process of life. Accept that things happen that we truly have no control over and that we carry on as best as we can. 

And sometimes we simply have to stop and feel the fear. Then breathe, and take the next step, when we can. Carrying on while we can and while we are alive. 

Yes, I’m scared. Humbled. And still alive, still here, still going to write, paint, and feel it all. Feel. It. All. And still live while I can, with gratitude.

4 thoughts on “Breathing Through the Fear

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s