I Can’t Breathe

March 19, 2020

I imagine this story being told in a woman’s point of view, but you can imagine whatever you want.

I am twenty-three years young, walking around as if there isn’t a giant hole in my heart.

I lost my mom in a car wreck when I was sixteen.

My father had a heart attack on my seventeenth birthday, and he passed away before they could get him in the ambulance. The event scarred everyone at my birthday party, and celebrating my birthday hasn’t been the same since.

I lost my older brother last year. He didn’t take my dad’s death well and overdosed.

A week before my brother died, I got asked out by his best friend. Our first date was my brother’s funeral.

Talk about memorable first dates.

I think it was fate that I met Bor (don’t let his name fool you; he’s anything but a bore) before my brother died. God knew I needed someone by my side, or I’d be alone.

As soon as I lost the last vital family member I had, I knew loneliness was inevitable and would probably be my demise. Fortunately, Bor was there, and now that we’re engaged, he’s stuck with me until his inevitable death comes.

I love Bor, and I love having him around. I love that he accepts every part of me, even if the new me isn’t as happy as I used to be. Sometimes, I can’t look at my fiancée without thinking about my brother, especially since he was there during Joon’s final moments. During those times, Bor is understanding and patient and extra loving. I love him dearly.

He’s accepting of the fact that I don’t have any pictures of my family hanging up around the house. At first, he was a little skeptical about what it would do for my mental health, but I assured him that it helped. I solely rely on my mind and random articles of clothing to remember my family. I think seeing them everyday would kill me too.

Then my family name would be lost forever. Bor is okay with me not taking his last name since it keeps my family alive.

Sometimes, Bor gets worried when their anniversaries arise, and I don’t cry. At their funerals and a mere few days afterwards, people would show their concern because they didn’t see me cry, especially after Joon’s passing.

If I don’t cry, I don’t feel. If I don’t feel, it’s not real. It’s just a bad dream.

On those rare occasions I do cry, I never let anyone see.

Sometimes, I get so consumed by emotion that I can’t breathe.

Note from the author:
Even though a large portion of my life is on the Internet, an even larger portion of my life still remains offline, including the unhappy part of my personal life I’m constantly dealing with. Since early September of 2019, I have been dealing with a series of heartbreaking losses in my family and my community, and it hasn’t been easy for me, especially since I heavily struggle with allowing myself to grieve. Recently, I found out one of my family members, who played a large part in paving a bright path for African-Americans in the community and will be remembered as a living legend, was put in hospice in his home. After being handed several different health issues at once, including stage 4 cancer, he’s not doing well. We know it’s a matter of time. Still, it doesn’t make it any easier. As the character of this super short story says in the final line, “Sometimes, I get so consumed by emotion that I can’t breathe.”

Featured image credit: Mayron Oliveira

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