1, 2, 3, Breathe by Ridghaus

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Coastal plants that look like wheat, silhouetted over ocean view

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.

This time.

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?”

Meet the Contributor

RidghausA rural Pacific Northwest resident, Ridghaus taught college new media and writing courses for 20 years before turning to film photography, coaching writers, and other creative endeavors. Watching Star Wars kicked off an enduring love of story; he continually plays with light-in-motion and word craft. An amateur mycophile, Ridg can often be found foraging deep woods while carrying his Yashica Mat-124 G or else wandering beaches with the bottoms of his white, flannel trousers rolled.

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/imunka

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