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A Time To Die

March 10, 2011

This is the second story in my series based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, A Time For Everything.

Click here or the A Time For Everything tab at the top of the page for a complete list of stories.


He holds his wife’s hand as she bears down, grimacing in a pain he can only imagine. A tear trickles down her cheek, matching the one seeping from the corner of his eye.

I’m not ready for this.

She curls her fingers around his and squeezes, but he hardly feels the pressure. There used to be such strength in those hands, that body, this woman. He bites the inside of his cheek and stares on like a fool. Nothing to say. Nothing to do. But be by her side as she clings to him, and wait.

Cheeks sallow, eyes sunken, only a whisper of the woman she once was, but she’s still the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. He holds his tongue because he knows she would argue, thinking he’s only giving lip service to make her feel better. But what could be more beautiful than sharing your life with someone until that last moment? Or more frightening?

I can’t do this.

“Be strong…..for our Stacey.”

Not without you.

A final agonizing breath and her body yields, sinking into the bed, her grip loosening. He only has a second to take her in before the machines start blaring.

His breath stops as the axis of his world shifts. His reality spins out of control as the center of his universe fades to black.

Please read the sister-story, A Time To Be Born.

38 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2011 1:38 PM

    You have the ability to break my heart, Danni, you really do. Gonna go hug my kids now.

  2. March 10, 2011 1:40 PM

    The parallels between birth and death stopped me in my tracks today . . . brilliantly done, and brilliant of you to post them back-to-back. But then, your brilliance is never lost on me, dear sister.

  3. March 10, 2011 2:14 PM

    This was beautiful. Nothing more to say.

  4. March 10, 2011 2:14 PM

    Now I feel like crying. That’s a great piece, very emotional.

    Does she die giving birth? Or does it happen later?

    • March 10, 2011 2:19 PM

      Thank you for your comment, Casi. I know what I imagined, but I like to leave details like this vague so the reader can take from it what means the most to them. I like having their imagination do some of the work. I find that the reader has a stronger reaction because they will envision what means the most to them. (if you really want to know what I thought, I’ll PM you 😉 )

  5. March 10, 2011 2:21 PM

    Laura, Angie and Catherine, thank you ladies so much for your incredible comments.

  6. March 10, 2011 3:03 PM

    Love the parallel between the birth and death stories. Very emotional one!

  7. March 10, 2011 3:20 PM

    Really awesome piece Danni. Using similar wording/ same wording in some places, really gave it depth for me. You’re a badass writer. Brilliantly put together.

  8. March 10, 2011 5:29 PM

    I guess there is no sadder scene than a parent letting go a child. They say there is no greater pain. It’s so huge that there are no word to define a parent who has buried a child.
    This post was, once again, masterful.

  9. March 10, 2011 7:02 PM

    That one hurt to read.

  10. March 10, 2011 7:34 PM

    I was afraid that it would go this way… well done although very sad.

  11. March 10, 2011 8:12 PM

    Beautiful, poweful and so tragic.

    I have my own theories on what happened too…

    Well done, sis! You always manage to pull so many emotions in so few words. I can’t wait for the next piece in this series and my special project. 🙂 *hugs*

  12. March 11, 2011 7:40 AM

    A post thats taken me a bit to think about before posting a reply and it is quite soul rending to be honest Danni. In a few words you’ve found not only a way to connect the reader to the scene but also place them in a very uncomfortable situation.

    Well done on your work and I look forward to the more cheerful stuff next time. (Time to Laugh I think.)

  13. March 11, 2011 7:53 AM

    Such emotion in this piece. So sad, yet so beautifully written. Well done!

  14. March 11, 2011 9:45 AM

    These companion pieces are simply beautiful and honest. They yield so much emotion in so few words. Really very good.

  15. March 11, 2011 11:51 AM

    Such a painful moment – captured all too well.

  16. Deanna Schrayer permalink
    March 11, 2011 12:10 PM

    Dani, I couldn’t help but think of the birth of my second son as I read this. The doctor actually asked my husband, as he pushed him out of the OR, “Which one do you want me to save?” Although my heart did stop, we both made it, thankfully.
    Your writing is so very powerful, I am in tears now, and that’s hard to do.

  17. March 11, 2011 12:39 PM

    Wow amazing and so powerful. The words stopped me in my tracks and I’ve stared at the screen for way longer than I thought possible. You are a truly wonderful writer. An excellent piece. x

  18. March 11, 2011 1:32 PM

    I agree with everyone else – the emotion in this is fantastic. I hope you’re planning to compile all of these into an eBook or something so that we can read them all the way through once you’re done.

  19. March 11, 2011 3:08 PM

    Dani, I’m glad I got to read these two together. I really like what you did with both of them. The many many similarities worked perfectly to establish the connection with “A Time to Be Born” and this one, without going so far as to make it seem overly contrived.


  20. adampb permalink
    March 11, 2011 4:22 PM

    This hits really hard emotionally. It’s like a watercolour painting where you see the brushstrokes but fill in the detail yourself. And when you open yourself to the emotions inside you threaten to let yourself be consumed by the power of it all. Heart-achingly beautiful.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  21. laradunning permalink
    March 11, 2011 5:03 PM

    Very powerful and moving piece. I’m so glad you decided to do delve into writing pieces with this theme. Wonderful!

  22. March 11, 2011 5:43 PM

    Damn girl, makes me glad I read that with a glass of baileys in hand. So lovely to see the stories written this way, very clever and very poignant. Can’t wait until next week, as always. 🙂

  23. March 11, 2011 10:30 PM

    Wow. I am so overwhelmed by the comments this week. Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. You have no idea what it means to me.

  24. March 12, 2011 4:28 AM

    Very touching, stories like these always hit me deeply. There is so much emotion, and food for thought in such a few words.

  25. March 12, 2011 6:02 AM

    You are pulling this series off quite well and very powerfully! Loaded with emotional punches that just hit hard and fast. Impressive indeed.

  26. March 12, 2011 6:10 AM

    Totally knew you were going to do “time to die” eventually – but you really couldn’t wait, Danni! At least you gave birth beforehand.


  27. Livy Parker permalink
    March 12, 2011 10:50 AM

    Again, a very powerful piece.

  28. Michelle Muto permalink
    March 12, 2011 11:23 AM

    Death moves us, doesn’t it? Great piece.

  29. March 13, 2011 7:21 AM

    What an excellent concept to base a series of stories on Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, and what an excellent story for A Time to Die. This one really takes my breath away.

  30. March 13, 2011 8:52 AM

    wrenching, but very nicely done.


  31. March 13, 2011 3:35 PM

    Terrific parallel to your previous story in this series – congratulations on drawing the bookends of our time here (birth and death) so very well.

    The echoes between the two stories are deftly done.

  32. March 13, 2011 7:15 PM

    Absolutely brilliant, Danielle. Nothing more that I can add to that statement.

  33. Rocio permalink
    March 13, 2011 11:02 PM

    what a sad but beautiful moment…

  34. March 21, 2011 7:04 AM

    There’s such a feeling of fragility, but you’ve wrapped it around an iron core.

  35. March 25, 2011 6:23 AM

    This one gave me chills. I love the parallels you drew between birth and death. This was perfection.

  36. HunnyDanez permalink
    April 15, 2011 8:58 AM

    Oh my! My tummy is in knots! But that is what you intended, didn’t you?!?! ;o) Brilliant.

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