After the Last Breath
1. Take a breath.
2. Kick everyone out. (If anyone but us is here in the first place.)
3. (Seriously. You’re allowed to be alone or to choose your company.)
4. Do nothing.
5. Do nothing.
6. (Just breathe. For as long as it takes.)
7. Nothing will be urgent. Everything can now wait.
8. Sit in the silence.
9. Ask yourself if you need more time alone.
10. Play our song. Maybe.
11. Hold my hand if you want to.
12. You don’t have to hold my hand. I won’t be there.
13. Don’t feel obligated to call anyone.
14. If you do want to call someone, start with the person you most want to talk to, even if it’s not necessarily the one who wants to hear from you first.
15. Email the family.
16. (Don’t call. Not unless you’re ready to share in their grief.)
17. Click send on the social media post after emailing family. Double check it’s public.
18. (The one we drafted is sitting in a desktop folder called “next steps”.)
19. (Remember what happened to Cathy and how Dale’s cousin posted first and how it felt awkward to hear the news from someone few who loved Dale had even heard about?)
20. Call hospice. They’ll issue the death certificate.
21. Cry if you must.
23. Think of me as only you can.
Amy Marques grew up between languages and places and learned, from an early age, the multiplicity of narratives. She penned children’s books, barely read medical papers, and numerous letters before turning to short fiction and visual poetry. She is a Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best of the Net nominee and has work published in journals and anthologies including Streetcake Magazine, MoonPark Review, Bending Genres, Gone Lawn, Anti-Heroin Chic, Ghost Parachute, Chicago Quarterly Review, and Reservoir Road Literary Review. You can read more at https://amybookwhisperer.wordpress.com.
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