The News

The News


4 days since death

I sank deeper into the chair, my arms held tightly around Grace’s waist, who was sitting on my lap. My face pressed into her back, my eyes closed. I listened to the voices filling my living room. Everyone’s eyes were fixed on the TV.

I swirled my tongue around my mouth, trying to find any moisture. My chest labored to expand. I squeezed my hands tighter together. Then I heard the shushes circulate in the room.

I moved my head to view the TV.

"Three days ago, Ariana Infantino lost her battle with breast cancer, but even in death, husband CJ said the way she lived her life is impacting many,” the TV spoke out while everyone fell silent.

My body froze. The air grew stagnant in my lungs.

The anchor continued with the story.

Ariana's face glowed, frozen in time, immortalized on the news, appearing and disappearing between videos of Grace and me being interviewed. It was hard to believe only four days ago, she had left me, only to return on the TV.

I noticed myself on the screen, but in appearance only. The words were not mine. The hands and arms moved in unrecognizable patterns. It was hard to know if I was having an out-of-body experience or truly becoming something new with each passing day.

“…really strong story there…” the anchor finished and cut to a commercial.

My face relaxed, clearing away evidence of a smile. I wiped my eyes and let the unease settle into my stomach. Smiling felt foreign. It felt wrong, like a betrayal of my grief. My heart was unsure how to cry and smile at the same time.

Then I felt Ariana whisper, “I have not left you. I love you.”

The room was filled with smiles. The silence vanished, replaced by praise for Grace and me. I felt Grace shift her body, unable to get comfortable. It was the familiar dance of the discomfort of praise. I squeezed my arms tighter around her and said nothing.

The lights flicked on, the TV volume lowered, and Ariana’s spirit was left to rest, knowing her legacy had been secured.

Any self-doubt lingering from the interview was numbed by the worthiness of the tribute to a woman worth her legacy, work, and love. Ariana was all that was good in this family, and in her death, she continued watching over us.