"Alaska, I can breathe again," this sentence repeated in my mind tonight as I walked to the edge of town to enjoy the sunset and the winter air. I thought about the last time I fully breathed in such crispness.
It was just over eight weeks ago, right around the time Alaska died. We took our kids night sledding a few days after Christmas on my parents' ranch. Alaska may have died that day, maybe even when I was up on the hill watching my kids, husband, nieces, and siblings delight in the thrill of racing down Sheep Mountain. I know it doesn't really matter because dead is dead, but I still wonder if her heart was beating at that time.
Even with this terrible curiosity, I still breathe deeply tonight. I breathe in the healing freshness of the air. I breathe knowing that I carry Alaska with me always. I breathe through my anger at knowing that I will never carry Alaska the way I had planned. I breathe again and again.