Friday, September 16, 2011

April 20, 1994

Choose a moment from your personal history and mine it for sensory detail. Describe it to us in rich, evocative details. Let us breath the air, hear the heartbeat, the songs, feel the fabric and the touch of that moment.

The room was quiet. Only his halting breaths and the distant, low voices at the nurse's station. The blinds were closed and the midday light was a soft, creamy glow at the window.

His outline seemed so small, almost insignificant, beneath the white sheet: a mere shadow of the man he once was. That sharp, almost gasping breathing punctuated the air. I sat by his side and held his hand, just in case he knew enough to know someone was with him. His fingertips were still rough from his years at the jeweler's bench. Diaphonous, parchment-thin skin, prickled with black hair covered the back of his hand. It was so unlike the powerful, capable, hard-working hand I had always known.

Those halting breaths were bitter, adding to the smell of disinfectant and dying in the air. I thought of other days. The smells of campfires, jeweler's rouge, family dinners, sawdust, trout streams and Old Spice. I thought of a little boy who would be losing his cherished grandfather that day: a little boy who was, at that very moment, sharing his dinosaur birthday cake with his kindergarten class. How would I explain this?

A sudden, ragged, stuttered intake of air. A sharp exhale. The breathing stopped. And my father was gone.

Always, feel free to comment! Trish in AZ


  1. This was beautifully written, and so very sad. I hope you found some comfort knowing you were there at the end for him. The contrast between the hospital smell and your memories of his previous scents really got to me. Great job.

  2. How absolutely heartbreaking. I am so sorry you had to go through that pain, once for yourself and then again for your son. Thank you for sharing this piece of your history with us.

  3. This is so heart breaking.

    I am so very sorry for your loss.

  4. I have been there. I know that pain. Really well done, sparse and raw.

  5. Perfectly done. You offered me a hug, now I'm giving you one right back. I was there with both my parents when they passed and your writing here is right on.

  6. I'm now in the position of having to explain to my son why I am crying! Very beautiful and touching.

    Plus, the best use of the word 'diaphanous' in a sentence.

  7. I get this emotion exactly. Excellently done.

  8. My heart just broke for you, but this is so beautifully rendered.

  9. Beautiful...thanks for stopping by High Heels and Hot Flashes... LOL about the song. Be sure to enter the give-a-way for the Eggland's Best goodie bag.