I can’t sleep.
I recount losses.
I’m never as upbeat as I appear.

You, my fragile lifeline;
My pain so unpredictable.
Your long-distance presence kept me,
from slipping over the edge.

Just breathe, I sobbed.
Just breathe, you said,
Embracing my bereavement.
No platitudes…just honesty.
No one else has done that for me.
No one.

You no longer endure.
Each breath letting go.
No more brave fronts.
We keep vigil.

I brace for your death,
Rehearsed for four years.
We don’t always have to talk, you told me.
I replied, And for God’s sake don’t apologize.