It was the middle of the night when I drove myself to the emergency room. My lungs were burning and I had coughed up a bit of blood. I tried to keep myself calm, to avoid panicking prematurely. If it was what I thought it was, there was a very good chance that I could die.
I don’t want to leave this all behind, I prayed, but if tonight is the end, please bring me home.
They say there is a profound connection between the body and the mind. In that respect, it’s fitting that I almost died of suffocation. I started suffocating long before I couldn’t breathe anymore.
I was in the first trimester of my second pregnancy, nauseous and exhausted. My husband was recovering from a series of surgeries, and the pain made him cranky. My daughter was two, and that made her cranky. I didn’t feel able to give my full attention to anything – not my family, not my students, not my work for the graduate school classes that I braved LA traffic to attend two nights a week. I let go of everything that was non-essential. I stopped socializing at work to meet deadlines. I stopped volunteering at church. Friendships suffered. And still, there was never enough of me to go around.
Proximity to death brings clarity to life. What had I been thinking when I chose to commit myself to so many things? I lived at a frenetic pace, never pausing to take a breath. And now, I couldn’t even if I wanted to.
Read the rest of my letter at The Catholic Woman.