Months To Years Winter 2019 Months To Years Winter 2019 - Page 44

Emergency, and some bureaucratic glitch on the When she died, her breathing remained silent floor delayed treatment, delayed the delivery until near the end. Small puffs of sound emerged of one of those injections I needed to open my from her lips, like the snore puffs she made on airways and help me breathe. Until they finally those nights I’d returned from college and lay delivered an injection to the floor, I struggled for awake with the hums and creaks of my childhood each breath. My mother, summoned from work, home. In the hospital, as she lay dying, her brain sat next to my cranked-up hospital bed, the head stem already dead, I couldn’t encourage her as raised to provide better breathing dynamics. I she exhaled her last puffs. I just listened. told her how tired I felt, how hard it was to keep gasping in each breath. She told me to keep I extract the cowbell key from my pocket and going on, just a bit longer. Later, when I said to enter the cottage to the faint smell of wood her, “I think you kept me alive,” she told me that smoke from fires the previous resident made. she’d never been so worried, that she’d thought “Living is about the breathing,” I might have said for sure I was dying. to my mother on one of those nights I clambered through an attack. We both knew that. But sometimes it helped to hear things aloud. Dawn Newton has published fiction, poetry, and essays in a variety of literary magazines, including Gargoyle, the Bloomsbury Review, the Baltimore Review, the Clackamas Literary Review, the South Carolina Review, So to Speak, and 1966. She received her Master of Arts in Fiction Writing from the Johns Hopkins University, where she studied with John Barth. Over the years, she has taught writing and literature to students of all ages, most often at the college level. Diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in November 2012, she now spends her days learning and writing about health matters and cancer mutations. She takes breaks to text her husband, Tim, and three grown children, Rachel, Connor, and Nathaniel, and to throw tennis balls in the back yard to Clover, her rambunctious dog. Dawn has completed a memoir, Winded, about parenting with cancer and maintaining to-do lists for both living and dying. You may read her blog at www.dawnmarienewton.com 44