‘When Breathe Becomes Air’

I recently read a beautiful book.  I read in two sittings.  And I could read it again.  ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi.  It wasn’t long, but it’s lasting effect on me has been profound.  How original plans, dreams and goals on earth can quickly become irrelevant when your time to fulfil them, realise them, is taken from you.  How quickly the lofty aspirations, the world changing ambitions become far simpler in favour of the little things in life and how suddenly they become the big things.  How swiftly and invisibly they shift, just like breathe becoming air.  An invisible transformation.


I was reminded of this when I listened to another story, another passage of beautiful words by Thich Nhat Hanh as he explained his perception of death.  These words helped me on Mother’s Day, a day that had devastated me the year before for feeling sorry for myself as I had no mother to spoil and no one was spoiling me; a day I sat alone in a coffee shop, tears falling in to my tea.


His words have helped me live.  For if you live, if you love and spend as much time with the living and those you love, you cannot fear death or fear those you love dying.  Creating memories leaves you with everlasting love for those who pass on or in the hearts of those living.


His words have helped me realise that just like breath becoming air, we too are energy and spirit and our energy and spirit invisibly transforms from the physical to the eternally ephemeral. As he describes, like a cloud invisibly transforms to rain or snow, our loved ones are the raindrops, the snow flakes, the sun rays that touch our body, that delicately brush our arms or wrap around us when we need them.


So this Mother’s Day, I embraced the living and those I love, the beauty in being a mother and the gratitude I have for a Mother in Law who makes me feel like her daughter; another invisible transformation.



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