Tag Archives: dying


The autumn sun catches on the golden
strands of her hair, and my heart
breaks a little bit.

She looks at me, eyes the color
of summer foliage, and I break
even more.

I can feel her touch, like ice
on my arm, and I try to regain
control of my breathing.

Sorrow stains her face like rain as she lifts
her mouth towards me, placing a kiss
softly on my cheek.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “All I want
is one more day.” She always tells
me this. Just one more day.

But time has never been in our favor,
and yet we find ourselves —
Trying to evade the inevitable.

“Just one more day.”

The autumn leaves fall around us,
a rainfall of colors, red, orange, yellow.
I inhale slowly.

Her breath ghosts across my neck —
“just one more day” — and I wonder
why it has to be this way.

I cautiously touch her cheek — her skin
is colder than death — and I wonder
why we can’t have forever.

One more day isn’t enough any more,
but I know time has finally
caught up with us.

She smiles, just a wisp of her lips,
and we lay down in the heap
of colorful autumn foliage.

“Let’s be together again some day,”
she tells me, and I die just a little
more inside.

“Promise me,” she says. “that you’ll love
me even when I’m gone.” I tell her that,
of course, I’ll always love her.

From now until forever.



Amelia is dying, and she finds herself in some strange place with a strange man who tells her she can have anything she wants. What Amelia wants is to go back and fix her life, but can she undo what’s already been done?

I listen.

My heart beats slow. Too slow. I know this. I also know that I’m dying, balanced precariously on the precipice of life. If I fall–when I fall, it will all be over.

I think I’m afraid. Of dying, that is, but the fear seems to be as sluggish as my heart.

Heartbeat. Death. Fear.

I am aware of these. Hypersensitive. I want to think of something else. Anything would be okay, but my mind is consumed by these three things and nothing can replace them.

I wait. Because what else can I do. I know my body cannot be healed–I’m too far gone, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t mind dying, not much, at least. There isn’t anything to connect me to my life. All I have left is an empty house and piles of letters and cards that I never had the nerve to send.

I should die.

Maybe I even want it.

I should want it.

But that fear surrounds me, making it harder to breathe–or maybe that’s just my lungs failing.

I’m dying, right?

I think I hear my name. The word sounds slurred–nearly unintelligible–but that might be a problem with my hearing. The voice calls to me again, distant, disembodied, and I want to answer it–tell whoever it is that it’s okay, that no one will care when I die. No one, at all.

I open my eyes.

I don’t remember where I had been before, but I know I’m not in the same place any longer. I know this because I would never be able to forget a place like this–bright, fresh, filled with the smell of cinnamon and freshly baked bread.

I’m hallucinating; I must be.


I turn my head. Slowly, because it hurts. Sitting on the ground beside me is a man. His face is placid and flawless, and I feel tears well up in my eyes as I look at him, though I don’t know why. Something about him just makes me feel unbelievably sad.

“Amelia,” he says and reaches a hand out to touch my face, stopping a tear rolling down my cheek. “Don’t be afraid.”

Afraid? How can I be afraid around such a person? “I’m not,” I say.

He smiles, gently, sweetly. “Good.”

Heartbeat. Death. Fear.

“Am I dead?”

He’s quiet for a moment. A long moment, and I’m sure I already know the answer.

“No,” he says, surprising me.

I glance away, unsure whether I should be happy or disappointed. I don’t understand death, so I fear it, but living means surrounding myself with those god-awful letters and knowing that’s all I have left.

“But I am dying.” It’s not a question. I already know this.

“Yes,” he says.

I briefly close my eyes. It’s okay. I’m prepared to die. I’m ready to die. I need to die.

I glance back at the man. “What is this place?”

“It’s whatever you want it to be.”

Whatever I want. But what is it I want? A second chance? With him? To just tell him how terribly sorry I am, how I know it was my fault and that I regret it? I want…I want more time, but I guess it’s too late for that now. Too late for anything except wasted remorse and tears.

I want…

“I want it to be life.”

He’s quiet again, and I look at him. His eyebrows are drawn together, and he seems to be deep in thought.

Please,” I say.

He doesn’t look directly at me. Instead, his gaze settles on some point past my head. “Anything but that.”

Of course. It couldn’t be that simple.

I want…

I guess it’s too late to be wanting things. Whatever this place is, it doesn’t change the fact that I will soon be dead, that I lost everything — Emmett, Ezra, every ounce of love I once possessed.

“I want things to go back to the way they were before. I want everything back. I want to try it again. I want–”

–to live.

I squeeze my eyes shut in despair.

I can feel the man’s hand on my cheek, consoling, and I let myself imagine that it’s my husband’s hand, instead. I imagine that it’s early morning and we’re lying in bed, waiting for the sun to come up before we get up to start the day. I imagine that soon Emmet will come running into the room because he always wakes up before us.

I imagine that life had turned out better for us.

I open my eyes and find Ezra smiling at me.

Heartbeat. Death. Fear.

I must be hallucinating.

“Good morning, Amelia,” he says, and my heart nearly breaks at the sound of his voice.

Tears well up in my eyes. “I’m so sorry.”

“For what?”

“For letting Emmet die.”

Ezra looks at me, frowning. “Don’t joke about something like that.”

I choke on my tears and cover my face. “Forgive me, please. I swear I didn’t mean to. It…it was an accident.”

His arms wrap around me, and I tremble against his chest, pressing my face against his neck.

“Stop it,” he says. “It was a dream. You had a bad dream. Emmet is fine; he’s sleeping in the next room.”


Heartbeat. Death. Fear.

My sobs fade to hiccups, and I cling to Ezra because I’m afraid that he will disappear and leave me all alone again, that if I don’t hold on hard enough, he’ll fade away into smoke.

I need him to stay. If I lose him, I’ll die.

But then…I’m already dead, aren’t I? And this is just an hallucination?

I lift my face from the crook of Ezra’s neck and look up into his face. “Can I see him?”

He gives a short laugh. “Of course. He’s your son, too.”

Ezra helps me to my feet, and I follow him into the next room. Emmet is lying on the bed, his chest rhythmically rising and falling.


I’m crying again, but I don’t care this time because I’m too happy. Happy that I’ve been granted a second chance like I wished for.

I lean against Ezra, and he wraps his arms around me again. He kisses the top of my head. “Let’s go back to bed, babe,” he says.


Gravel crunches beneath the tires as I make my way up the driveway.

I’m tired. All I want to do is go inside and sleep. It sounds like a good plan. I will lie down on my bed and sleep. I won’t let anything disturb me because I deserve this. I deserve a break from my fear and exhaustion. I deserve a nice, long nap.

My cellphone rings, and I pick it up, looking at the screen.


I smile. Maybe I will hold off on my nap for a moment. I can endure the exhaustion for just a few moments so that —

The car lurches and jerks, and my body flies forward, straining against the seatbelt. Everything stills a moment later, and I lean back.

I can’t breathe.

Because I already know what happened.

I knew this was too good to be true.

I unhook my seatbelt, open the door, and step out onto the gravel. I slowly sink to my knees, not wanting to look but knowing that I have to. It’s my punishment. This is what I deserve, not naps, not Ezra.

I bend over and look under the car.


I gasp for breath, but I can’t feel anything. I’m floating in darkness, emptiness, a void that exists only to consume me.

No, no, no, no.

“Emmet.” My voice is swallowed by the shadows as if it never existed.

This is my punishment for killing my son. This is what I deserve. I was foolish to think that I could go back to a life of happiness, a whole life, a perfect life. I was foolish to believe that I could be forgiven for what I did.

Heartbeat. Death. Fear.

I cover my face in misery. Why did it have to be like this? Why couldn’t I have just paid a little bit more attention? Why was I so stupid?

Something brushes against my arm, and I remove my hands from my face to see hundreds of letters falling around me, a sick rainfall of my apologies and pleas for forgiveness written in painstakingly perfect handwriting — because that was the only thing I could control, though even that is beyond me now.

“Stop it, please.”

“I gave you what you asked for.”

That voice. That man. I twist around to find him floating a few feet away. His visage doesn’t bring me to tears this time, instead it ignites anger within me.

“That wasn’t what I wanted!”

“You asked to go back. I allowed that.”

“I wanted a second chance!”

“There are no second chances, Amelia.”

“You tricked me.” The tears have returned, and my voice has grown thick with emotion.

The man tips his head slightly to the side, inquisitive. “Yes,” he says and I find that he is suddenly right behind me. “I tricked you. I trick everyone that comes here. You humans are hopeful fools. You honestly believed that you would be given anything you wanted, even when you ruined all you had in life?”

His mouth brushes up against my ear. “Murderer,” he whispers.

I push away from him and whirl around, but he is gone, and I am once again left alone with my letters. Hundreds and hundreds of letters, even though I’m sure I couldn’t have possibly written that many. I’m left alone with the last remaining remnants of my life.


Heartbeat. Death. Fear.

My heart stops.