Just Breathe

This short story/poem was originally written for a class assignment, but quickly became so much more than that. Four years ago this past January we said goodbye to my Auntie Jo and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. This story is in memory of her. Love you Auntie Jo. ❤️


Just Breathe

Have you thought about it lately? That feeling that grips your lungs, pounds on your heart, wells tears in your eyes. Yup that one. It lessens over time, but every now and then it shows up out of nowhere. Just when you thought it was gone, someone says something, the memory comes back, and it hits you.

Just breathe.

It was an ordinary Sunday morning. I woke up, got ready, drove to church, and greeted everyone in sight. I saw some that I hadn’t seen in a few weeks and we shared stories to catch up and pass the time. Our core team got together, set the tone for the service in prayer, put our hands in the middle, and started service. It wasn’t until the last song on the set list that it hit me. You would love this song. Why that thought crossed my mind, I’m not entirely sure. But one thing I am sure of, you were there. My heart skipped a beat, tears started streaming and I could no longer sing…

Just breathe.

It’s been four years since I saw you last. Four years since the last time I heard your voice. Four years since the last time I gave you a hug. But sometimes, I swear it’s like you’re still here. I close my eyes, close myself in, and there you are. Your smile. Your laugh. I can still feel the warmth that I felt just being with you. I felt it this morning.

Just breathe.

I wish you could see me now. Where I’ve been, where I’m going, you’d be so proud. When you found out I was finally going to Bible college, I watched a smile come across a sick face that hadn’t seen a smile in a few days. It all happened so fast. The sickness spread faster than any of us anticipated. But before you took your last breath, the entire family was there by your side. I know you felt it. The only thing on any of our minds was one thing.

Just breathe.

The more time passed, the harder it got for you. We did everything we could, but at the end of the day, we knew it was time. It was an ordinary Sunday morning. I woke up, got ready, drove to church, and greeted everyone in sight. I saw some that I hadn’t seen in a few weeks and we shared stories to catch up and pass the time. But before service started, my guitar wouldn’t plug in. I switched to another cord, but that one didn’t work either. Nothing was working and service was going to start soon. What was I going to do?

Just breathe.

My pastor knew you were in a nursing home, and with a heavy heart, said maybe you should go be with your family instead of being here. At first I was frustrated, but when I got to the nursing home, I knew it was no coincidence. Everyone was there. No one was saying a word. Everybody knew what was going on. That was the first time that feeling hit me. My lungs tightened, my heart pounded, and tears welled up in my eyes. This was it and I wasn’t ready. But you were.

Just breathe.

The whole family sat around your bedside. You knew we were all there. One by one we kissed you goodbye and sat around you in silence. The feeling intensified. We all felt it. But you were at peace. You took a breath in and the sun parted through the clouds for the first time that day. Warmth, peace, and love filled the room. As you exhaled, the sun left. The warmth left. But the love remained. You were gone, but we remained.

Just breathe.

Four years later, the feeling still hits me. It’s not so hard anymore, but it’s only because time has helped heal the hurt. I know you’re with God. Everyone who was with you that morning does. And every now and then, you send us little reminders that you’re still thinking about us. Like this morning. In those moments, I close my eyes, close myself in, and just breathe.




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