The text below is copied from the blog of a lady writing under the name "On the edge" - from her Feb 1, 2009 post Remembering to breathe. It is strange how different people are the same inside and feel the same.
"There have been times in my life when I have literally forgotten to breathe. I remember the first time it happened. I was 15 and the boy I had loved since I was 4 years old told me he was marrying... I can remember my heart stopped beating and I couldn't catch my breath for a minute. He broke my heart.
Then it happened again when the doctor told my sisters and me that our mother had colon cancer and would not live more than a year or two... She died just three short months later.
The day we got the lab reports back telling us our youngest son had HIV/AIDS, my head started to buzz and all I could think was no, it wasn't true. I had prayed so hard to Allah to make it not true. It couldn't be. There had to be some mistake in the lab work, but it was true.
When he died and they came to tell me, I was calm, but later after all business of the funeral was over, I would remember he was dead at odd moments. It would catch me off guard. I would stop breathing. The ache in my heart was so strong, it squashed all breath out of my lungs. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe off and on... The disbelief that my son was gone forever was almost more than I could bare.
I learned to get through these losses by taking one breath at a time. One minute, then two, pretty soon I was breathing whole blocks of time without reminding myself to keep inhaling and exhaling air. Amazing how resilient the spirit is when faced with the end of the world.
So, if this ever happens to you, just try to remember one breath at a time is all it takes to carry on with the business of life. One breath, then two, then three and soon it just happens on its own. Even if you wished it wouldn't ."