I have been holding my breath since yesterday morning. I am afraid to exhale because it hurts. My breath gets caught when it hits my heart and I ache so much I force myself to hold it in again.
By holding my breath I am holding in the pain, the tears, the unbelievable completely unfair reality of what transpired just yesterday morning.
What seems like it was yesterday, I sat across from a woman I envied. A woman who I thought had everything and who challenged me to live the life I wanted to live. As our daughters played we sat in her kitchen or mine and we spoke about dreams and realities and to do lists.
Less than a year and half ago she buried her husband who slipped away so quickly from cancer.
Yesterday morning this woman – this friend – this mother – died after her own battle with cancer.
Her eldest daughter the same age as my eldest.
Her youngest daughter only two years younger.
My heart aches for her girls.
My heart aches equally for a mother who knew what was before her and still held strong because of her girls – knowing every single minute over the last few weeks that she too would leave them.
I am hugging my children today and yesterday and hopefully decades from now - so close and so tight that they protest loudly – because it is all I can think of to do.
And I am holding my breath too afraid to exhale because of the ache and the lost dreams and the unfair realities.
Just the act of breathing doesn’t seem fair right now.