Thursday, June 3, 2010

goodbye aunt estelle

She had become more and more unaware of her surroundings as the days progressed. The cancer was taking its toll. Her breathing labored, her temperature rising. The soft murmuring of the family around her, but somewhere just beyond was the sound of the sweetest music she had ever heard. She closed her eyes and just rested as she listened to it. She felt transported to a place of gentle breezes. She could feel the touch of a light mist on her skin. Although she couldn’t see clearly, she could hear laughter and the most familiar of sounds.
“Mama? Mama can you hear me? I’m here.”
She opened her eyes, the beige-green of the hospital room all around her. The beeping of the monitors tracking every rise and fall of her heartbeat. Her breathing more difficult then before, she looked into her daughter’s worried eyes. She moved her hand with difficulty and rested it on her daughter’s.
“Honey it’s going to be ok,” she tried to whisper but no one in the room could make out the words. She closed her eyes again. The music a little louder now, she thought she heard the sound of a familiar footfall. Could it be? She tried to see but her vision was still cloudy. She heard the sound of the gentle beating of wings. It was easier to breathe here. If only she could stay, she thought to herself.
She heard a soft cry and opened her eyes. There they were, her children, grown now with children and grandchildren of their own but still her babies, weeping softly. She took a ragged breath and shuddered. Vaguely she heard the sound of a monitor going off, and sensed a sudden flurry of activity in the room but she was so tired and her eyes so heavy she could not keep them open.
“Are you comin’?” the voice so familiar, she awoke and went to sleep to the sound of that voice for 47 years. She murmured something. “Its time, come on.” He said gently.
“I can’t,” she said. “They still need me. I saw them, the kids crying. They still need me.”
“Baby come on, they will be okay. I promise. I’ve waited for you a long time. Come on home now.” He said again, his voice so tender. She opened her eyes and saw him standing there. He held his hand out to her.
“I,” she started and looked over her shoulder. “I don’t know.”
“Its ok, come on now.” She reached for his hand. She took a deep breath and suddenly felt lighter, yet stronger. She reached up to touch his face gently and realized that this place was more real than any place she had ever been before.

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