Updated: May 19, 2020
Sometimes I find myself holding my breath. It’s as if I’m on the verge of something happening but I’m
not sure what that is. Is it tears? Is it just the fear of discovering who I am without you? Is it simply taking my next breath, knowing that as I inhale I cannot go back to who I was just two seconds ago? It’s as if that single breath is able to define me.
I have learned that’s how fragile life is – just one breath. My friends have learned the same. How could they walk among others through the halls at work daily – me not knowing until now they suffered such losses like I did? How could they recover and move on and laugh and drink coffee and chat by the stairwells again?
The secret is in taking that next breath – over and over and over. For it’s not just one single breath that is able to define me or them in that time of darkness or healing, but it’s the series of successive breaths that follow. With each rising and falling of the lungs is a cleansing of the pain. Slowly it turns to a dull ache and then a peacefulness. One day I look forward to moving among the others who have suffered loss, laughing and drinking coffee and chatting by the stairwells. At that time I will fill my lungs with fresh air and my mind with sweet memories. One day…
Shelli Netko (c) 2007