Too good not to share?
I found the story below in my LiveJournal account which I have not visited in years. It’s one of only three entries. I have no memory of writing it. I’ve tried Googling for phrases. No hits. So I must have written it. Mustn’t I have?
I like it. So I’ll share it. And fulfil at least one prediction.
He opened his eyes slowly and saw a blur. Blink. Blink. His vision cleared a bit and the room swam into hazy focus. They were around him chattering. He closed his eyes and listened to their voices. Telling stories. Laughing. Lovely, he thought. Just lovely.
He opened his eyes again and smiled a weak smile. Weak smiles. That was the best he could do these days. And a weak laugh that sounded like a cough. Speech was long beyond him. But he could still smile. That was good. They were here, all here, all the ones he loved. That was reason enough to smile. That was good. Very good.
“Dad?” said a familiar voice.
“His eyes are open,” the voice said. They all turned. “Hi, Dad,” they said. “We’re here.”
He tried his smile again, to let them know he heard, that he was happy they were here, to let them know how much he loved them.
“Dad, can you hear me?”
Of course, I can, he thought. He tried again to smile, to show with his face what he could not say with his mouth. But his muscles were past taking orders. Even his weak smile was only in his mind, he realized. It had never made it to his face. Hadn’t for a long time, he thought. Explained a lot, he thought. He closed his eyes and deliberately willed his smile to appear. Nothing.
“He’s gone back to sleep,” he heard someone say.
Well, that’s done, he thought, and let go of smiling. One more thing to let go of.
It had been hard for him in life, letting go: something he’d never learned to do. It seemed he’d spent his whole life trying to hold on to things: whatever he’d had at the moment. Silly. Now he’d been given lots of practice letting go, first through necessity, then with resignation, then—in a kind of miracle—with ease and with grace. Letting go was not just getting easier. It was getting nicer. Just a few more things to let go of and he’d be free.
But not quite yet, he thought. Not just yet.
He listened to their voices and smiled the only way he could smile—inwardly. It had been such a good life, he thought. And he smiled again, this time not weakly, this time no longer constrained by tired muscles and no longer hampered by flagging energy. This time he smiled a full, bright, beaming smile. And realizing he was free from the limits of the body, he smiled a smile he could never have smiled before.
“He looks happy,” he heard someone say. “I wonder what he’s thinking.”
I’m thinking of you, he thought. I’m thinking how good it is to lie here and to hear your voices and to feel your warmth around me, he thought. I’m thinking how nice it is that all of you are here, all of you together and with each other today, he thought. And he smiled a smile that now was wider than the room, wider than the city.
He felt warmth on his face. He felt warmth in his body. It felt good and he drank in the warmth and felt the warmth bring him strength and health and vitality. He could feel—not see—the space around him. Green. It felt green. He was in the middle of a great green plain and above him he could feel a clear blue sky with golden energy blazing down, warming him, filling him with life. He felt a breeze touching him, felt himself waving in the breeze, felt his own new vitality, felt himself growing. Felt his own golden color and his own green color and the green and the gold around him. With nothing to smile with, he smiled anyway.
And one more time, he let go.
There’s one more line in the LiveJournal entry:
I'll comment on this in another post.
The entry is dated Jun. 6th, 2005.
I suppose I intended to write another LiveJournal post explaining where the idea came from, what the story meant. But I didn’t. Not in LiveJournal. There’s only one more entry, dated June 9th. It’s a review of three Boston airport hotels (they suck) and the more distant Hotel MiraJohn, Hotel AlyssaKon, and Hotel Dayo (they rock). I remember having written that one, but not this.
Is this the other post in which I’ll comment on that one? It qualifies. Have I predicted the future?
Will that story come to pass, just as the post in which I’ve commented has come to pass? Perhaps.
I’m not going anywhere soon, but when the time comes, it wouldn’t be a bad way to end my wonderful life.
The story really had me riveted as he's realizing there's one more thing he can't do. THANK you for sharing it.