Skip to main content

When Breath Becomes Air

I just finished a touching, powerful book When Breath Becomes Air.  That title meant nothing to me till the end. I knew its meaning when Paul took his last breath.

Death. Why is it so feared? Is it because no one really knows what comes next? I think so. We can speculate. We can believe. But who knoweth for sure what happens after breath becomes air?

I can see why people cling to religion. It provides an answer about the afterlife. It may not be true, but it can be comforting. Who really wants to believe that this is it? It seems so final. So unfair to those who are taken early. But what is early? Is there any promised amount of days allotted to man? I think not. So why should any feel robbed?

Time is a gift? Those who are granted more time, are they the lucky ones? Is it the depth of life, or the breadth of life that which we should use as the measuring rod for a life well lived? And, by the way, who is to say what makes a life well-lived?

Paul's reflections took me on a rollercoaster ride. I remembered Tyler dying of a glioblastoma. I thought of Annette racked with cancer. I thought of my children's friend's father who plummeted to his death down an elevator shaft. We live with death daily. Reflecting on death feels morbid; sometimes downright terrifying and paralyzing, and yet we go on living. Paul is right, the best way to face death is to keep on living.

I held my children a little tighter the past few days. I will hold them tighter today too. I hope I will not soon forget this powerful book and its message. I hope I will remember that life is fragile and none of us have any time guarantee. The only life truth I know for certain is that we all will die. None escape death. I will die. So will my children. Does this knowledge change how I live? Or does it simply change how I will die? Thanks to Paul, it changes both.

I have always wanted to live a LONG, full life, and die a QUICK, painless death. Now, I'm ready to be fully present and experience them both exactly as they unfold. No judgment, just observation, and experience. Life is a ride I'm dearly loving. May death hold equal amounts of exhilaration and learning. May I, like Paul, bravely go where others have so nobly gone. May I, like Paul, leave a legacy of love for my family, friends, and future humanity. One day, my breath will also become air.


Popular posts from this blog

Holy Treason

I don’t know if you’re like me or not, but I was born into the one and only “true” religion of God. I spent my entire life studying and living the principles and teachings of my faith. I knew the doctrine, and I believed it to be true. Until I didn’t.

The road to the unraveling of my faith is a rather long one—definitely another article for another day--but suffice it to say, I began studying other religions and realized that all of them contained beautiful truths. I felt as uplifted and inspired while reading their scriptures as I did reading mine. I understood why some referred to religion as a “faith culture” for I was now aware that had I been born and raised in a different religion, I’d have believed that religious tradition to be true.

I came to see religions as merely vehicles leading us back to God. Surely God didn’t care whether his children drove jalopies or Jaguars so long as they were moving along the superhighway back to Him. Or could it be her? Or perhaps there wasn’t just…


I've been thinking a bit about relationships. I'm seeing them differently than I've ever seen them before. First, I realize that relationships are created in our minds. What we think about our relationships defines them. If I think my daughter is ungrateful, I will see ingratitude in all her actions. If I tell myself my coworker is annoying, I will find him extremely so.  And so it goes. What we think about others creates how we relate to them.

So why not think happy, positive, loving thoughts about the people we relate with? We absolutely have the power to create amazing relationships by changing the way we think about our relations.

Second, I've been thinking about the importance of loving the people in our life for who they are, not for what we need them to be. People need freedom to be who they want to be. If you love someone, you don't try to change them. That isn't love. Love is accepting someone for who they are and where they are right now. Love knows n…

His Light Lives On

Page told me during breakfast this morning that President Thomas S. Monson passed away last night. The realization that a great soul had left this mortal life washed over me. I wanted to pay tribute to him today so I decided I would take his framed picture with me to work and set it aside a lighted candle. It would be my way to acknowledge the illuminating affect he has had in my life and the life of so many others, as well as signify that his light lives on.

Here's how it looked:

I moved him throughout the day so that I could always see him. I also spent some time reading some of his most beloved quotes. I felt his presence and my love for his great soul increased. Some of the quotes I shared with others throughout the day include:
Decisions determine destiny Your future is as bright as your faith   Search inward. Reach outward. Look heavenward Never postpone a prompting We can't direct the wind but we can adjust the sails It's always better to look up Stand for t…