Today wasn't a good breathing day. It's been a bad few weeks. The home oxygen machine has been puffing on her behalf throughout the fluctuating weather. The day it fluctuates will be cause for concern. It's efficient but cold. Standing to attention in the kitchen. We cannot ignore its presence. We appreciate its contribution. But it's not the same.
Energy levels have been very low and, unsurprisingly, so too has the general mood. Not being able to breathe has many nasty side effects. The days can often seem dark, even in bright sunlight. It's a horrid illness, and it's horrible to watch a parent deteriorate in its merciless hands.
The fine weather this weekend counted for little as even the slightest movement was exhausting and draining. Conversation seemed stunted, and I found myself lost for words in spite of a wonderfully invigorating morning spent with my best friend at the Lido.
I seek never to take my breath for granted. I push it to the extreme, but never unknowingly. My lungs are fully cooperative, and seem to enjoy the workout. Breathing deeply is something I revel in. I bathe in my breath, and delight in my ability to breathe. I actively work to increase my lung capacity and train my breath to maximise my efficiency. My breath is my friend. Thank goodness.
This cruel illness not content with robbing the primary sufferer of their energy and joie de vivre insidiously takes its grip at the centre of our little family. It seeks to dominate and consume. From time to time, its destructive forces seem to reap havoc throughout our lives.
We cannot take a moment for granted. It gives us not a moments peace. It's there waiting, just beneath the surface, impeding and making impossible those things most people with a parent in their 60s might not think twice about. We rarely leave the house together these days. Getting around the house has itself become a challenging chore for Mummy but it is at least known, and familiar, and that feels safer. Safe but far from sound. Isolation is the breeding ground for rumination and brooding, reminiscing and wishful thinking - if only, what if and I wish...
I wish it were different. I wish it weren't so difficult. But it is, and this is relentless. There are no let ups. A good day is cause for celebration. Today, in spite of the sunshine, we could not celebrate - there was little available beyond the bare minimum.
On leaving I felt small, and grossly inadequate, staring into the impossibly harsh face of this illness that had robbed me of the mother I want to relate to, the mother I hope to find every time I go round, the mother I assumed I'd have for years to come.
I felt beaten, jaded and terribly sad. I knew I needed to connect with my own breath, and breathe deeply into, and through the many emotions that were running strong. It being a wonderfully sunny evening my bike smiled at me from where it's been standing in my recently reinstated post flood bedroom. 8 miles, and I was at Sheen Gate, and in the Park. Free to ride, as hard and as fast as I wished. It was a glorious evening, and there were but a few of us lapping in the hazy sunshine. 'Hello, breath', I said to myself as I pedalled towards Richmond Gate. It was, I knew immediately, exactly what I needed to do.