In this book, I believe Joan is asking us to receive more fully those people we love in our lives, to listen to what they are telling us. She feels her husband was telling her, preparing her, asking for more quiet time together, and she pushed his words aside, not wanting to believe or hear them. And, yet, what did she miss in the way of what might have been shared? They shared a rich life. Perhaps, we often think we want a little more.
She realizes she is also grieving the loss of her youth, the man who knew her and saw her as young. Now, she must face her age. The book re-creates their lives, as she goes back in, wanting to know his thoughts at the end. Who was he? What were his last days like, hours, moments. She has not felt contact with him since he died, and perhaps, that is best for her as she learns to move on, to move through, to continue the breath strokes of her days.