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The Wait

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     An old man laid waiting in bed for the arrival of Death. He had been lying for a long time now and recognized that his passing was nigh. The devastating illness of old age sapped him of his strength and what little will to live he still possessed. With each passing day, the elderly man would notice the approach of death signified by the blackening rims around his vision. The total darkness of the Reaper both frightened and enticed the dying man, for what was life without the joy which he no longer experienced. Without a family to accompany him to the door of Death, he would be going into the unknown by himself and without any meaningful witnesses. His nurse seldom stopped to speak with him, and this essentially made him alone in life.
     On the day of his death, the old man awoke in the morning from a wonderful night’s sleep. As early as the moment when he rose, he knew that Death awaited his passage into another realm. Every night since his very birth, dreams and raw imagination had flown through his mind; however, the previous night’s slumber had been silent and clear of any emotion. As the old man lived his last day, he knew that he was going to miss his life. The memories of times long past lingered within his mind, but it felt as though an unbreakable wall prevented him from feeling them in their full glory once more. Not being able to experience the joys of his past, the man settled for just gazing longingly at faded mental images of his wife and children. He now had nobody except for the figures of his memories- tarnished by old age and terrible anguish.
     The accident had occurred right after the sixth birthday of his twins- one energetic young boy and his shy, adorable sister. There had been a party at a pizzeria for the two children in which a couple of families had gotten together with their kids to celebrate another year of prosperity and happiness for them. As the young gathered and laughed, the adults simply took in the sounds of their joy and lavished in their parental pride. When the time came for the end of the little party, the father of the now sleeping twins placed each of his kids on his shoulders and brought them back to his old two-door car. With his wife in the passenger seat next to him, the man proceeded to pull out of his spot and begin the drive back to their house. The sounds of quiet snoring emanated from the slightly drooling mouths of his peacefully sleeping children as he pulled onto the main highway. That was the last sound he heard before the collision except for the blaring cry of a horn screaming a warning to the loving father. With an earsplitting crash, the heavy duty pickup truck that had been speeding through a red light smashed its front grill into the side of their small car. As the airbags released in the front of the car, the man’s last thoughts before blacking out were about how he had neglected the protection system in the rear where his kids now slept. The barreling car spun out of control and smashed into a telephone pole, ultimately leaving it compacted and flipped upside down. As sparks and pieces of random scrap metal filled the air, the sounds of distant sirens and commotion were audible. Coming to for but a moment, the man was just barely able to register one thing before going to sleep for a very long time: the presence of an ungodly amount of blood in the passenger seat and seeping from the back.
     The doctors would only tell him over and over that it was a miracle that he was alive, but that was the last thing he yearned to hear. First and foremost in his mind was the condition of his family, but not one coated figure would talk to him about what had happened. All he could think of was the pooling streams of awful blood leaking out from where his family had been. His body ached from his injuries, but the full regiment of pain medication was able to dull his physical agony. However, his emotional stress and impatience to find out if he was a widower or if his kids had made it through could simply not be satiated by anesthesia. After nearly two weeks of pain medication and constant anxiety, a different man than usual came into his room in the hospital and sat down with a grim look on his face. Bearing a look of utmost pity, the newcomer who claimed to be a professional psychiatrist finally revealed what had happened to his loved ones. After hearing that the deaths of his family members were quick and painless from this terrible herald of news, the man could not cope. The grief overwhelmed his soul, and at that moment, he created a shell of anger to protect himself from further emotional harm. Tears of complete misery poured freely from the man’s eyes, and he sobbed uncontrollably following this news. Heart-wrenching pains tore through the soul of the broken widower as his loss began to overwhelm him. Through the entire grieving process, the man threw up an emotional wall to protect himself from thinking back at the loved ones who he had lost. This thick, unbreakable barrier of pure anguish was what now impeded the dying man from reliving his life’s best moments.
     As the final hour of the old man’s life arrive, Death appeared to the elderly man. However, he was nothing like what the old man had been expecting. Rather than a harbinger of the pain, this figure was more like an angel than the devil. Its aura dissolved all of the darkness in the room, and the elderly, dying man was left alone in a pristine, enlightened space with this kindly presence. At this display of light and purity, the old man knew his heart would not be able to keep him alive for much longer.
     With a benevolent smile, Death reached down and placed one of its glowing hands upon the man’s chest. In that instant, the wall of sorrow and suffering that the man had built up after the accident broke down and the memories of joy that he had blocked off so many years ago flooded back into the forefront of his mind. Tears of pure ecstasy came freely from the old man’s eyes as he was once again able to hear his wife and children giggle with joy. He cried as he remembered the soft touch of his wife’s lips and the rough feeling of his son’s hair as he tussled it and the goofy smile that his daughter would give him when they played dolls with each other. He mourned the loss of what could have been, but he was now enveloped in the extreme happiness of his old life. The sights and smells and sounds that he had so long ago cut off were now a part of him once more, and he knew at that moment that he would no longer be facing Death alone. Holding the gleeful laughs of his children in his thoughts, he gazed confidently at Death as the being swept him up and took him to be with his family once more.




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RashelLiko said...
today at 11:11 am
This got to me, great story and meaning! keep up the good work!
 
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