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
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 very 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 as if 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
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
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
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.