We sat around his bed, watching his draining body. He did not move, could no longer move, as his arms and legs were already cold. His breathing was labored, gasping at irregular intervals. He held on tight to every moment, showing his strength, his stubbornness in each devastating breath.
Was he thinking? Was he remembering the years of volunteer work, time with family, days at the office, rounds of golf, or witnessing an atom bomb test on a deserted island?
Was he listening? Could he hear the nurse explain that the spreading discoloration on his legs, the coldness of his limbs, the lack of pulse, and the occasional long silences between breaths were normal signs of coming death? Could he hear his son and brother expressing their love to him, telling him that they were near in case he could no longer feel their presence? Could he hear the prayer I offered up in celebration of his life and the blessings he bestowed on this world?
Or in these early morning hours, was his body only doing what it had done for the last 80 years – breathing.
And as we waited, his son and brother next to his bedside, holding onto him, gently touching his face, resting their head next to his, I sat near the end of the bed, praying, for this man…
…and for the life inside of me. This small life, only just beginning to learn the reflexes of breath, only just beginning to move growing limbs, not even knowing of the world this man has inhabited.
These two lives – one at it’s end, the other not yet born – passing each other in this holy moment.
The gates of heaven opened up, shedding a light into the room, a light invisible but strong, saying “I am here.”
“For with God nothing will be impossible,” (Luke 1:37). Not even the breath of a dying man or the movements of a baby in a womb. For I have come to give life, and to set you free.
In the in between (lacreativitea.wordpress.com)