Breathe - grief notes | blogging from a to z challenge

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During the month of April, I am taking on the Blogging from A to Z challenge, writing twenty-six alphabet themed grief notes.

On August 17, 2017 my twenty year old son was killed in a car wreck. I am trying to be OK . . . we are all trying to be OK ... in a world where nothing is OK. I am reaching for what I know heals me ... creativity ... art ... writing. Stringing together words, thoughts, and questions. 


Breathe. 

Inhale. Exhale. 

In and out. 

Repeat. 

 

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. 

 

I have never had to remind myself to breathe as much as I have in the past seven plus months. I catch myself, chest barely moving, tiny sips of air, just enough to get by. 

 

Breathe, Cynthia. Breathe. 

 

I catch myself, holding my breath, as if  a part of me is willing myself to stop    breathing    with    him. 

 

Inhale. Exhale.

Breathe.

 

On August 17th, 2017 my son took his last breath and everything within me hopes that he didn't know, that he didn't suffer, that the sudden impact took his life immediately. I scream for the assurance that not one moment of consciousness passed after impact because I cannot bear his knowing that he was leaving the love of his life, leaving his family and friends, leaving all of his hopes and dreams here. There is no comfort in any of this but that would be the tiniest of ease. 

 

Breathe. 

Be here, be now. 

Breathe.

 

These are the words Noah gives me when my mind loops into replay mode. It's my default. Give me a situation and chances are after it, I am replaying it, realizing I could have done this better or wishing i had said that differently. This is the same. 

 

I replay that day often. 

 

My mind travels to Interstate 95, trying to imagine what happened and how. I see the text from Andrew telling me to call Maggie. I hear her telling me there had been an accident and that Atlas was being air lifted to Charleston and I'm repeating over and over, "but what about Noah?" She couldn't tell me so she answered each time with "I don't know." 

 

We drove South heading to Charleston, thinking, hoping, trying to believe that we were going to him . . . to find him ... to bring him home and heal him. The children had already started to gather, putting on their brave faces to me, whispering words of empty assurance. Logan in tears as we left, my biggest boy, broken. 

 

My mind remembers Molly calling before we had even been contacted by Highway Patrol because she knew, a friend having frantically helped her find out the news she would now have to tell me. She had to hear my first screams and I hear her crying and there is nothing I can do to fix this. I am an hour and a half away from home with one child who knows her brother is dead and the rest waiting for the worst. I should have been there to hold them when I told them. Instead, I called them because I couldn't let the burden of knowing rest on just one. They are a tribe, one for all, and all for one. I wish I could have figured out a better way though.

 

I hear the sounds of my husband and my children crumbling. 

We fell together. 

 

I replay the day with so much wishing for better ways and better words. 

 

and Noah says, 

It is not helping you to revisit those moments.

Be here. Be now.

Breathe. 

 

He reminds me. 
I remind myself. 

 

Breathe, Cynthia, Breathe. 

 


while I breathe, i hope