What you are about to read is a story I wrote just as my Grandpa died. We are all at his side when he passes away into the next Life to be with Jesus. I was in the way of grieving family because I was lost as to what to do. I sat on the couch and this story just poured out of me like I had been waiting to tell it forever. I had never given any thought to such as this story turned out. It just wanted to be written.
Well here I am.
I’m lying here in a hospital bed right in the middle of what used to be my living room.
I’m tired but I feel my second wind coming. I’m 87 years old and I have lived a good life. What more could a man ask for. My lovely wife of so many wonderful years is singing in my ear and stroking my cheek.
Naoma doesn’t think I can hear her but I can. I want to tell her how beautiful her voice is to me but I can’t seem to get it out. I try to talk to her and tell her I love her but my body won’t do what I want it too. I can’t even get my lips to form the words I want her to hear. This is so frustrating. Not so much for me but for my family. They seem to think I am in some discomfort but in fact I feel a peacefulness slowly making its way up my body.
I know my Stella is here. She is always here. I aggravate her sometimes but all I have to do is give her that little chuckle and she just melts into my little girl and everything is ok again with her. She thinks she is tough with me sometimes but if I could get the words out of my mouth I would assure her I was never offended. My skin is way too tough for that. Speaking of tough Stella is one tough cookie. I wish I could tell her I love her.
My boys are here too, he he, you won’t find a finer bunch of men than what my Sons grew into. Thomas and Johnny are talking fishing. Some hunting talk is in there but mostly fishing, yep I am proud of my boys. Benny is not here but somehow I can feel his presence. It’s the kind of feeling you have when you get up before dawn and try to get your coffee made and collect your fishing gear without waking the rest of the house. It is a cool, expectant feeling like there is an electric charge in the air. I don’t know if I can convey the right feeling but that feeling is how I know Benny is near. I half expect to hear Dottie telling Ben to hurry up in a whispered shout.
Every now and then Thomas will lean down and tell me he loves me and will pray for me. Johnny stays with me all the time. He is a soft hearted guy to be so big. Johnny will wait till he doesn’t think anybody is watching and he will cry and tell me how much he loves me.
Thomas and Linda hover over me like I’m a fragile old man, he he, I guess I am somewhat fragile right now but I’m not broken. When they start to pray and cry I want to do the same but I can’t. My mind is here but I can’t make anything work right.
Johnny and Charlotte would be the dynamic duo for a man that needed to be taken care of. I’m too tough to be going through this. I love it when Johnny holds my hand and prays but when Charlotte come around I know she wants to do something to me I don’t want done. I think I’m going to get a lucky punch in one of these times. She laughs at me for trying but all I’m going to get her yet. Well maybe not, if I did get a lick in, all I would have to do is use my Stella chuckle on her and she would forgive me.
There is another constant presence. I know Jesus has been with me the whole time but I think he has had one of his special Angels to look after me. She has been in the background almost unnoticed but I know she is there. The most Beautiful Red Haired Angel ever created. She is always there.
Yep this is as close to Heaven as a man can get I think. I lived my life in a manner I hoped would be pleasing to God. I’m full of the Holy Ghost and my family is living for God. I know my life is coming to an end on this Earth but life is just beginning for me.
That is what makes it so frustrating for my family. They can’t see what I can see. I’m laying here like a cripple and I’m sure I’m a sad sight to see but I’m the one that is sad for my family. Everybody looks into my face and they talk real loud thinking I can’t see or hear. The truth is I can see things now that were not visible to me before. It is like I have a new set of eyes. I can see right through to the other side. I hear what can only be a river flowing in the distance.
I have got to go check that river out. I can hear it and the sky is just starting to dawn. I can see the sky getting brighter by the moment.
What is that? I hear crying behind me and I hear singing in the distance just beyond the ripple of the river I’m heading for. I want to know who is crying because the voices sounds very familiar too me and I want to make the hurt they feel go away. I hesitate just a moment but someone calls my name.
I turn back in the direction of the river and….. hey Benny, I thought that was your voice. How’s the fishing son? Let me have one of those rods and let the Old Man show you how it’s done one more time. I’m heading up stream tell your brothers when they get here they will have a lot of catching up to do.
Tell the girls they can fish if they want but tell your Mom just to follow the sound of me whistling. She will recognize the tune…. It is the one she was singing to me right before I got here.
Charles Holt 05-21-09