At the top of my inhale, I wonder, is this the last one? Is this my last breath? I ration the exhale so that it lasts as long as possible, and then at the pause I see if another inhale begins.
The cycle starts again.
But there will be a day, a moment, when it doesn’t.
Here three years after my 18 year old son died by suicide, sometimes I hope that last breath comes soon. Not that I wish for death, just that breathing carries burdens.
In those first days after his death, it felt like a 500 pound weight settled on my chest. Every inhale working against the crushing to keep inspiring. That weight never left.
Now I can laugh without guilt, something impossible those first days. I can eat. I can open my mouth and hear something other than that sorrowful wail emerge. I can think of Gabriel without immediately bursting into tears. I can see preciousness within every moment with any person. I can see how sorrow deepened me.
I cannot explain what I mean by “deepened,” except to say I see more colors in the world, despite the grief, because of the grief.
I also cannot imagine a long, happy life without him.
A few nights ago, we went out for dinner with some friends. I laughed at clever observations, and enjoyed the meal, the company. Overall, a pretty good day. Yet, the weight persists.
So at times, I wonder at the top of my inhale, “Is this the last one?”
Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/imunka