Circle of Spirit Publications

An imprint of Drama Circle

Breathless Final 9-11-19 front cover sm.jpg


by Eric Chason


Available in Paperback

TITLE: Breathless

AUTHOR: Eric Chason

PRINT FORMAT: Trade Paperback, 6 X 9, 233 pages. $18.00

EBOOK:  Not yet available.

ISBN: 978-0-9834701-7-5

LOC/PCN: 2019950566

PUBLICATION: Fall 2019 by Circle of Spirit Publications (An imprint of Drama Circle).

Lillian was a college freshman, a promising theater major facing the challenge of Stargardt’s disease, a condition that was causing her to go blind. When, in the fall of 2009, Lillian became sick, she assured her parents it was just the flu. Four days later she was in the university hospital, relying on a machine to breathe for her. 

Based on her father’s journal, this memoir describes what it’s like to live through a parent’s worst nightmare, conveying the heart-wrenching ups and downs of Lillian’s time in the hospital.  At the same time, it recounts the life of a remarkable young woman who, despite the gradual loss of her sight, was determined to finish high school, attend college far from home, and embark on an independent life. This, her parents told each other, was the hardest struggle their daughter would ever face.

 Yet, as Lillian lay tethered to life-support, each day a parry against time, her father realized that every challenge his daughter ever faced was only a backdrop for these few, excruciating days in which she fought for her life.

Eric Chason is a professor of engineering at Brown University. All his other publications (more than 150 of them) are in technical journals that are rarely seen outside of libraries. This memoir is the first personal piece of writing he has published. He was compelled to write it to tell the story of his daughter Lillian. It has no equations.


"On the Thursday before Thanksgiving of her freshman year, my daughter Lillian woke up in her dorm room in the middle of the night. She felt terrible. She had been sick all week, had a fever, couldn’t breathe, and was worried about all the classes she had missed.

Since September, there had been an H1N1 epidemic at the University of North Carolina and the doctor at the university health services said she was likely to get more symptoms. “Don’t come back for a few days,” he told her, so she had been riding it out in her room. Her friends had brought her saltines and ginger ale, but she kept feeling worse.

On that Thursday night, her main concern was getting to the bathroom. Like many students, she had her bed lofted up on stilts so that her desk could fit underneath it. She wasn’t sure she’d be able to crawl to the far end of the bed and climb the six feet down to the floor.  

But she couldn’t wait any longer. Forcing herself up onto all fours, she pushed the covers off, then slowly turned around and made her way toward the end. Her muscles burned and her chest felt like there was a huge weight pressing on it. She dragged herself over the railing and down the side, putting one foot on the dresser as she always did, careful not to step on the make-up items she kept there. 

The hallway light was painful as she shuffled to the bathroom down the hall. When she got back to her room, the climb back up into bed was too much. Wrapping her bathrobe around her, she lay down on the floor and went to sleep."


Other than trying to keep my eyes free of tears so I could continue reading, I could not put it down.
— A.W.

Circle of Spirit makes available work that highlights the spiritual side of humanity. Our goal is to spread understanding and promote empathy. In a time when fear and disunity grip our world, people of good will can put aside differences of doctrine and work together to build unity and fellowship and establish a safer, more tolerant world for all.