Paula Vibert Photography


It was a Saturday morning when my son passed away.

The following Tuesday, in a state of shock, almost apathetic, I walked down to my regular yoga class. I had hardly slept.  I needed to feel the familiar comfort of a yoga class.

I arrived a little after 7h30 am. The class had already started. Being a non guided class, each student was doing their own sequence at their own pace. I walked towards Miguel, my teacher, who was supervising and assisting the students individually.

He smiled at me in his welcoming manner.

We hugged good morning. I couldn’t smile. I had to say it. I had to form in my mouth the sound of each word of this irreversible end. I whispered, almost crying ‘Miguel, my son died’.

So, there I was, like every Tuesday and Thursday mornings, ready for my yoga class.

Except that this morning I was in another planet and I was no longer the same person. My heart was broken to pieces, my mind in disbelief, my body slow and heavy. I needed to do something with it like moving or stretching. Something, anything, to diminish or forget the horror of that impossibly scary reality.

Miguel held me in a unhurried hug. I was trying to contain the tears that were already rolling down my cheeks.

He said with great gentleness: ‘let yourself cry in the postures. You need to cry. Let your body open’.

Obediently, I went through the sequence of postures, in a kind of mental absence.

I knew I needed to focus on the breath in order to keep my mind steady and calm. ‘Inhale 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds’ was my mantra throughout the whole practice. I held on to the breath like it was my lifeline.

I arrived at the challenging Wheel posture. It is a powerful back bender and chest opener. I asked  Miguel for assistance so that I could enter the pose in a supported way.

I held the posture for 5 long breaths – 4 seconds in, 4 seconds out – feeling the deep stretch, the heat of the pose and my own sweat. My heart was beating faster; I was getting hotter; my breath was breaking through the pain. I repeated the pose again for the same 5 long breaths  – as if my body was gasping for air and space.

And then I was ready.

I could feel them mounting to the surface.  Tears now started pouring out.

The doors to my grieving were opening.

I was crying out my agonizing pain

allowing myself to cross the threshold into the absolute unknown

and sinking into the unspoken mystery

of life

and death.

photo by claude renault





9 thoughts on “Sinking

  1. Sandra Dubout says:

    Paula You had already told me your story but reading this is terribly painful . I can’t begin to imagine how much you suffered and I am sure you still hurt.
    The only positive thing is that its made you the strong and amazing person you are today. Your son must be proud of you.
    Love Sandra Xx

    1. Paula Vibert says:

      Dear Sandra, thank you for your words. At some point in the midst of all that pain, I chose to give meaning to my son’s death. And this blog is a manifestation of this journey. Life keeps surprising me. Love to you.

  2. Tracey says:

    So many emotions – words escape me. Sending virtual hugs – he’s in my thoughts often.

    1. Paula Vibert says:

      Dear Tracey, thank you.
      His powerful presence has inspired me to keep moving forward, to stay open to the unknown and fully alive.

  3. Suzi says:

    Thank you for sharing this powerful story and the power of the breath to heal.

    1. Paula Vibert says:

      Dear Suzi, thank you for your words. Love to you.

  4. Noreen says:

    we have the capacity as souls to reach out beyond our bodies in this earthly path…I see, hear and feel it in fleeting moments… wanting to be with the people and animals who walked along the way on this my earthly path… I seek out those fleeting moments where I allow myself to be the spirit, the soul that I REALLY AM…AS THEY ARE TOO.

  5. Bernadette says:


    THank you for sharing your journey with us. It’s very powerful. Love to you, Bernadette

    1. Paula Vibert says:

      Dear Bernadette, thank you for your words. Love to you.

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