This I Believe

Michael - Evanston, Illinois
Entered on April 24, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: death
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Marla’s Death

April 10, 2005


What is it about death?

Knew she was very ill.

Knew she was dying.

Knew there wasn’t much time left.

So we visited as often as we could.

Brought flowers.

Brought little gifts.

Brought ways to help her pass the time.

We tried to keep a positive attitude.

Being there for her.

Being cheerful.

Being hopeful.

Before she died she left us.

Went into a coma.

Went into labored breathing.

Went into herself.

We stayed by her Hospice bedside.

Sat for hours.

Sat and talked to her.

Sat and talked about her.

Then it was time for us to go.

Gave her our love.

Gave her our goodbyes.

Gave her leave to die in her own time.

It happened just after midnight.

Her last breath.

Her last thought.

Her last wish?


Over time you adapt to a dying person’s rhythms.

You slow down as they slow down.

You are less active as they are less active.

You are still as they are still.

The pattern of their existence is diminished.

Your existence is diminished.

Time’s existence is diminished.

Life’s existence is diminished.

You know that they will die.

That they are dying now.

But you don’t believe they will die.

You adjust to the situation and accept it as the norm.

Then they die and death becomes the norm.

And you are surprised.

And you are amazed.

Marla is Dead. Amazing!