The Old Man and the Smile

February 7, 2017

I looked around my room, a smile lighting up my face. It was my birthday and I was happy. I’ve lived another year in my happy house, with my happy family, and my happy tumor. It’s been two years since the doctors discovered it and when they did I figured there was nothing better to do than just keep smiling. At 108 years old, I figured I wouldn’t want to distress my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren more. Joan would’ve done the same thing. Anyways, I get up and instantly my head starts throbbing and it makes me laugh. It’s always on time, never missing five minutes after my awakening every morning. I look over to the other side of my bed, noting the lack of the imprint of a dog. I guess that’s what happens after two years of him being gone. I go to my shower and enjoy the sensation of the hot water cascading down upon me.

I dress myself and grab my walking cane. I refuse to let the nurses come to help me live. Anyways, I make my way to my bureau, where I put on my father’s watch, one of the heirlooms he left me. I smile as I remember our time together, but frown as I find I can’t remember his voice. “Well, I’ll be gone soon, so it won’t matter then,” I chuckle at the idea, but my eyes and my mirror betray how I really feel. I wipe my eyes and continue on with my day. My family is coming at three o’clock, so I only have five hours to get the house ready for them. I hobble to the stairs and look at them for a bit. The red stain of when I first tried to go down them is there and I try to smile. I make my way to the elevator. I wait for it to come up and then use it to get downstairs. I stagger to my sitting room, where I start fluffing my pillows. The doorbell rings. I frown, wondering who it could possibly be at this hour. I shuffle to the door and open it. My entire family screams happy birthday and I clutch my heart and drop to my knees. They all gasp as I look up and mouth, “Get me to a hospital.”

Two of my grandsons pick me up between them and start bringing me to the car. I feel my breath leave my lungs and I gasp to get it back. I feel my head throb harder than it has ever as the oxygen tries to reach my brain. My vision darkens and I grip my cane as hard as I can. I feel being pulled out of the car, but I can’t see it because my vision is completely gone. I feel the tears roll down my cheeks. I feel my grandsons running me to the nearest doctor. I feel the final strands of life I have leave my body. I take, what I hope is my final breath, and I feel my eyes close. I feel my soul leave my body and I turn in air to watch my family cry, and I’m confused. Then I realize that this isn’t my time to leave this earth. Daniel O’Connell, the 50th president of the United States, the author, the widower, the chemo survivor, the husband, the father, and the grandfather is not leaving this earth because of a surprise party. I think of my family and I will not let go. I think of my Joan and I will not let go. I think of my life and I will not let go. I will not let go.

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