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Still Breathing

By R. L. Marstellar

Mom’s life falls away in chunks and in the reverse order of how we acquire our skills when we enter the world. Her full sentences go first, then talking at all.

Eating, drinking, seeing. One by one those slip away from her too. She no longer recognizes us, not me or my sisters, not Helen, her favorite caregiver, not her treasured grandchildren. She can’t respond to questions with a nod, a hand squeeze, or even a blink. Can she feel my hands on her? Is she in there somewhere, silently, painfully watching? I only know that she’s still breathing, so I touch her like she can feel me, talk to her like she can hear me.

Countless mind-numbing hours pass with me at her bedside. The voices from the TV on her dresser are the only ones I hear other than my own.

About the Author

R. L. Marstellar is a writer and storyteller and has been for most of her life. She recently completed her second book, When Someday Comes, a spirited memoir about her midlife meltdown turned culinary adventure abroad. Her work has appeared in Midway Journal and Bacopa Literary Review and garnered their 2018 prize for creative nonfiction.

 

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