Last Breath

The darkened room was silent, except for the sound of labored breathing and muffled tears. I held her hand as she cried in her sleep. In the next bed lay the body of her husband. The peaceful look on his face hid the fact that his soul was gone from his now cooling flesh. We waited together in the dark for the undertakers arrival. They had years together, built a family and an empire. But in the end it had only been she and I with him. His mind had wandered in and out. Conversations had been scattered through the pages of their life. She had kept pace with his ramblings as if it were normal. I had smoothed his hair and the covers of his bed. She smiled at me with appreciation, for doing the things her body would no longer allow her to do. She looked as me and quietly said, “he is leaving us soon, I know it” And there in the darkness he left. But not before turning his head and gazing in her direction. His last words were of his love. No I will not share them. Those were special and private and THEIRS. I was honored to have been, but a fly on the wall in that moment. To see what years of love could bring.

After he was gone I did my job and laid him out in preparation as I had been taught. I placed the call and returned to her side. We were together through the night, the three of us. Her hand, with fingers bent from illness and time, so firmly grasped mine. Tear filled eyes looked at me and lips uttered this phrase repeatedly. “I knew it was going to be hard, I had no idea it would be this hard”

In the end she lost her own battle. Only a short month latter she gave up the fight. And I spent that night with her too. The rasping breath of a woman who’s heart had left her when he left. She had not the strength to talk. So I smoothed her hair and her covers and held her hand as she let go of her last breath. And like before I laid her out, made the call, and waited. And there in the darkness I cried. And I heard her voice ring I my ears. “I knew it was going to be hard, but I had no idea it was going to be this hard”.


Life sometimes give you the basis for the best stories. Every word of this one is true. I think of them often and how after a lifetime together they loved as deeply as ever. And how their loss marked my heart.


  1. April 25, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    simply beautiful. heartbreakingly beautiful.

  2. rougedmount said,

    June 8, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    this was hard for me to read and completely understood

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