Death and Breath and Dehydration

David and I cried ourselves to sleep on Sunday night.

And not for the usual reasons.  (You're asking yourself, are there usual reasons?  Oh, if you only knew.)

Actually, the last few days there's been quite a bit of crying ourselves to sleep all the way around.

I had a really good jag before bed on Sunday night and David even joined me for the end of it.  My eyes were half-swollen shut all Monday morning.

Then late last night after David had already started snoring and I was finally putting the last of my thoughts to bed and starting to drift, Ethan showed up sobbing at the foot of our bed.

Tonight it was the girls.  Long, solemn tracks of tears dripping down their necks and pooling in the hollow of their collarbones.

I tucked Savannah in and let her cry.  Olivia just wanted to sit by me for a while. 

Maybe it's too much sun.  Too much happiness.  And the universe is demanding a little sorrow in return.  Balancing our emotional scales.

The truth is I like the right kind of crying almost as much as I like laughing.  Cathartic and cleansing.  David gave consolation a try tonight, "It's alright.  Don't be sad."  But not me.  I sort of believe in crying.  Let it out, I say.  Howl, even, I say.   And then I join in for good measure.  So they'll know I'm serious about what I believe in. 

Nothing is seriously wrong, of course.  Sunday's tears were over a rough Sunday school lesson and an even rougher personal review of it in my head.  And our oldest boy had his first priesthood interview and we sobbed a bit remembering when he used to crawl around our bed in his white onesie and bare legs.  Ethan's was over a bad dream which he couldn't remember later.  And tonight over pasta e fagioli, I shared the news that our beloved grandmother is on her way back to heaven.  We all dripped salty tears into our soup and mopped it up with crusty bread. 

All things worth crying over, I say.  (But I may not be the one to ask.  Heaven knows, I've cried over less.)

I keep thinking about breathing.  The in and out.  The one breath between this life and the next.  The one breath between giving birth and sending them off.  The one breath between kindergarten and college.  The one breath between madly feeding six ravenous mouths and quietly warming up dinner for one.  The one breath between tending their sick beds and them tending mine.  The one breath between now and then. 

And I want to hold my breath.

Tonight after dinner was over and David and I were staring at each other over the dishes, he told me about his day.  One of his colleagues had teasingly accused him of being a romantic. 

She said,  "Now I heard that you believe that you're married not only for this life, but for ever.  And I told my husband, 'This life is enough!'"

They laughed together at that.

And David and I laughed at it again over our dishes.  Because, really, some days it is.

But tonight when I got in bed, and remembered the one breath between this life and the next, and heard David breathing deeply beside me, I was grateful.  So grateful that I have more than this "one breath" with the ones I love.  Because I cannot hold my breath.  I've tried.  But I keep breathing in and out.  My husband keeps breathing in and out.  My children keep breathing in and out.

And that seems like as good a thing as any to cry about.

But not for long.  Because, as brief as this life is, it is only the beginning. 

And that makes me smile.  In spite of myself.