According to Dictionary.com:
the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).
the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6
a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.
Right around this time of year each January I usually end up with a case of bronchitis or a whooping exacerbation of my asthma. In Chinese medicine — they say you hold grief in the chest. It’s only been just this year that’s it’s dawned on me.
My mother died the day after Epiphany.
She loved Christmas, you see. So she held onto Her Life all the way through the official Christmas season and drew her last breath in the afternoon of January 7th. Well past the hour when Christmas — Epiphany — had passed. We would never associate her death with the holiday a firm two weeks past the actual Day and just the other side of the ‘official’ end of the Christian Season of Christmas.
But my body remembers this time of year — the pain and the loneliness of a small child. My chest convulses with it. I struggle to breathe and feel the constriction of it all over again — fresh each year. In all my cells. In each breath, I cannot release.
Forty-seven Januarys have passed since the day my mother died. I developed the asthma around the fifth anniversary of her death. And have carried it with me ever since.
What is one to do when one has such an epiphany? When The Divine allows you to make a connection such as this after all these years of struggle and hurt? Illness and grief?
The only thing you can do. You breathe.
When I am well again — I shall seek to open my heart and my chest in asana. I shall meditate on re-opening my heart chakra. I will return to my massage therapist for energy work to release the muscles I have bound with coughing and tensing. I will do all the things I know I need to do to heal again.
But for today — in this moment — all I can do is sit with my grief. Be present with my present. And breathe.