Sunday, March 6, 2016

#SOL16: The Burn in My Lungs

Early Morning Picture Devon Took (Maine, 2009)

Pretty soon the house will fill with others. A friend staying over will get up. Devon will rouse. Another friend will bring dinner. My brothers will arrive. But each morning the day starts with just Rob and me. I'm finding I need very little sleep and spend a good portion of the day and evening beside Rob, tending to him, trying to hold on to every possible moment--making the most of such limited time.  In the morning Rob is the most lucid and even though talking is beyond him now, we communicate. Mostly I talk to him, touch him and he uses his eyes to look at me, focus so keenly.

Do lovers really need words after so many years?

Rob and I have always shared quiet mornings, especially on weekends and days off.  Most often you could find each of us with a cup of coffee or for me at times, tea, and sections of the Times spread out on the round oak kitchen table I let go a few weeks ago in order to make room for Rob's hospital bed. A morning ritual, if you will. Inevitably, we would read to the other from sections of the paper we thought pertinent, funny, important, odd. And then discussion would ring until we each drifted back to the paper only to repeat this process again and again.

Ritual is bone deep.

Rob at our kitchen table in September (2015)


It is impossible for me to actually consider with any detail what mornings will be like after Rob. I can barely write that phrase, after Rob, without feeling like I will vomit. Great loss is felt in the gut. I have trouble stomaching that act of imagining future mornings and so I resist this. Everything in me rejects that certainty.

This morning I am recalling a line from a Rumi poem, "Music Master," that resonates so.

"Lovers don't finally meet somewhere/They're in each other all along" (p.106).

How true I think as I wait for Rob to exhale breath, feeling the burn in my lungs.


  1. All along, for always and bone deep.

  2. Mary Ann, hang on to your rituals in the morning hours and let them follow you throughout the day. It is a difficult process to endure.

  3. The "without" you now imagine is just a different way of being with, if you let it be -- and I know you will. The story will continue. Embrace the different as you always have.