Skip to content

‘27,000 Breaths’ appears in Big Truths

How do we live with grief? And do we ever let go of love?

These are a few of the questions I tackle in my newest non-fiction piece, ‘27,000 Breaths’, appearing today in Big Truths. It’s a piece that explores my father’s death, but also questions of how we carry pain and trauma inside our bodies, and the role of the breath in releasing pain.

This version of ‘27,000 Breaths’ is a revised form of an earlier essay of the same name that was longlisted for last year’s CBC Creative Nonfiction Prize.

Here’s an excerpt:

At a microscopic level—at the level of the individual cell—physical or emotional pain can be reproduced and carried forward from month to dizzy month, year to unbearable year, stretching on through the long decades of our lives.

If this is true, I wonder: how do we release that trapped emotion? How should we decode the body’s strange hieroglyphics of grief?

I’m grateful to Troy Palmer and Amanda Leduc for their incisive and generous edits, and to Troy Palmer for his incredible design and layout. The essay is available as a free read over at Little Fiction/Big Truths, so check it out, as well as their impressive and growing list of fiction and non-fiction singles. While you’re at it, you may want to check out the cool video trailer Troy created for the piece.