Pulse newmasthead 10th anniv 2252x376px

Subscribe/Energize


new subscription

Join the 11,000+ who receive Pulse weekly



energize subscription 
Stop by the
Pulse newsstand and
energize your subscription
with a contribution and
keep Pulse vibrant

Our goal this year:
500 energized subscribers

So far: 159



Questions?

If you have any questions about submitting a story to More Voices, please use the form below to send us a message.
Our editors will respond as soon as possible.
captcha
Reload

More Voices


Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.

submittomorevoices

It was a Friday afternoon in May, a week before my stepdaughter died. I was holding a solo vigil on the couch next to her bed, while she slept peacefully.

Her hair had started growing back, soft and thick and gray. I loved to rub my hand across her head.

As I watched her breathing in, breathing out, a surge of sadness filled the spaces between my own breaths. It pressed against my chest, rose against the levee of my composure, crowded behind my eyes. I felt tears. We’re all just water and air, fluid and breath, I thought.

Light filtered in from the window behind her bed. It was late afternoon--that time when birds sing their way toward evening, dogs bark as their people return home, voices rise from the street below. So normal, so everyday. There’s dying in here, I wanted to shout out the window.

She lay on her back, covered by well-worn lilac sheets, her head cushioned in a deep pile of wrinkled pillows. I watched her with the fascination with which one watches the ocean. I imagined the fury and forces beneath the surface--be it her skin or the surf.

Her skin had a translucent glow and her arms rested at her sides. Lately, she'd taken to holding her arms up in the air as she slept, moving them like a graceful hula dancer. Other times, she'd fall asleep with her hands close to her mouth.

I watched her breathe as she slept. I watched her face. I'd seen the dying in her face start last Sunday.

In that moment, dying was all there was. Dying was logging pages of medications and bodily functions. Dying was hugging hospice nurses I’d never met before as if they were childhood friends I hadn't seen in decades. Dying was cleaning her body. Dying was handing her ice chips as if they were gold.

Dying is hard work. But in that moment of peace, she and I just breathed together.

Then she awoke. "Why are there so many flowers?" she asked, her brain struggling up from the quicksand of morphine and sleep. "Is there an event?"

"Of course," I said. She smiled.

We breathed in, we breathed out. I raised my hand to brush away a tear. Everything is water and air. And soon only air.

Avis Begoun
San Carlos, California

Comments   

# Joan Sears 2016-11-07 22:24
Avis, you captured those precious moments of your journey so poignantly. I felt as if I shared that experience with you. Thanks for inviting me in, and for teaching others about this amazing opportunity.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Terrye Bellas 2016-07-26 20:56
So beautiful. Reaching down to that place where the heart lives. It beats. She was here. She was loved.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
# Hilton Koppe 2016-06-26 02:27
Beautiful.
Thank you Avis.
You and your daughter touched my heart.

Hilton
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote