Focusing on the breath is difficult. My mind does wander, but the wandering usually starts the same way.
My mother passed a few years ago. She had ALS, but died of respiratory failure. (though… isn’t all death eventually met with the arrest of this vital system.) The night she left, I was there beside her. I heard her last breath and then noticed no more. For a year prior, I witnessed her distress to inhale/exhale and the intervention required to ease her discomfort to breathe.
When I focus on the breath, I am immediately brought back to the intensity of that evening and her struggle. From this experience, I realize a breath may not be automatic, reliable, constant, natural or normal. Although I can sit with the emotions of that night and am at peace, I could do without this difficult reminder as I attempt to place my awareness on my single, simple and *healthy* breath.
Perhaps I should practice other methods of meditation. Perhaps there is a greater lesson here about letting go.