Breath

Her chair is in our living room. I curl up in it cross-legged; the air around it is empty.

I wash the leather cushion and back with a damp cloth. It swivels under my touch, then stills.

Her limbs did too, shortly before she died. I gave her the ritual of a final loving massage. It was gentle touch, my palm on her forehead, my hand over her heart.

Her ragged breathing calmed. I found myself matching her breaths. You can go, it’s okay. I thought those words, and said them aloud.

Her breaths slowed. In, out. In. Out. In….. out. In.

And just like that, she was gone.

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. A hole in the everyday has punched through the solar plexus of life’s waistcoat. I discover I can’t fill the resulting void.

My mother-in-law and I breathed together, the same air, for 24 years. I’m not able to breathe back out, because Mama’s no longer here to do it with me.

7 thoughts on “Breath”

    1. Hey Nancy, so glad to hear you are enjoying my novel! The post came out of a writing prompt I did with the monthly group. Missing you and the others, see you next month, xo.

  1. Been there Jadi, with my Mom and Dad. Such a hard thing to see someone`s last breath. Not as afraid of death now, but still don`t like the inevitable! We all have to go through it. Hugs!

    1. Thanks Chris – I agree, death is no longer frightening. It felt important to be there at her side when the time came. We were lucky: her passing was peaceful and very easy. But even knowing the day would come, it’s surprisingly hard to get used to the loss. I’m sure it helped you to be able to be there with both your parents. xo, Jadi

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