A Letter to My Lungs

on Mar 19, 2021

Dear Lungies,

I recently watched a video of a pair of lungs in action, filling and releasing, filling and releasing.
I was in awe.

It is not the first time that I have been in awe by the magnificence that is the human body.
I remember my first time at a Bodies Exhibit.
I don’t know what was stronger, my amazement or my reverence as I walked through that space.

Witnessing our compactness, the closeness of everything within these skin and facial capsules that we walk around in blew my mind.

As I’ve learned more and more about our systems over my lifetime, I’m again and again in such delight and appreciation for the miracle of our bodies. The perfection of all the systems, working together in support of our lives is beyond anything this little mind could ever dream up.

So it is no surprise that I felt amazement and reverence when witnessing these lungs filling, releasing, filling, releasing… hugging the heart with each breath.

But what I did not expect in that moment, was the amount of admiration, the tears of tenderness that came as I thought about you specifically. 

You, my dear lungs.

You, you who have lived 41 years with Cystic Fibrosis and all that does to the tissues, to the fluids, to your airways.

You, my beautiful lungs, who have been through the thick of it quite literally, you who have breathed me through grief and joy and tenderness, anger, and hope.

You my dear lungs who have showed up and kept going through pain, who inhaled through and blew by the odds, literally.

You who dared to keep exhaling, even at points when trapping made it seem impossible.

You didn’t stop.

You were probed, explored, loaded up with mucous and bacteria, cleaned out physically and chemically, and you rose again and again.
You helped me let go again and again.

Even as I type you are still doing…going… breathing.

Thank you thank you thank you, a million times over. 
I cannot thank you enough. 

You have hung in there with me, all of me.
You have breathed me through it… all of it.

I so appreciate you.

You have risen to every challenge, not always to the top, heck, maybe never to “the top”, but you moved through obstacles that many will never know.
We’ve had some scary times, where we both were hurting so much.
We became home for things sometimes that we didn’t want to.
But you just kept filling where you could, emptying in the best way you knew how.

I supported you in the best ways I knew how, as I learned and searched and worked and stayed.
I did my best to listen to you, not always on your first try to communicate, but we found our way.

So thank you.
Thank you for being such a good partner through all the tough and joyous stuff.

Thank you for every breath.
Every breath, the easier, and the ones that did not come so easy.

You are miraculous.
I love you my dear lungs.
You have done such a good job. 

I bow down to you, my teachers, my love, my life.


*The image is a photograph from of a part of an art creation that I made as a tribute to 2020.
It was originally from a CFRI news letter. 

*Also, it feels important to say that if my lungs had needed to stop or could not reach their next breath, I would not love them any less.  That would not be a failure of any kind.
It would simply mean that they met their physical max capacity for what they could make it through, and given all that they did and met up to that point, they still would have done a very good job.
Even one breath is a miracle.