The Superfluous Journey
“Am I in Heaven yet ?”
As he spoke the old man’s sunken eyes stared at me. Dark kind eyes. Weary, of late, but holding a special sparkle about them, today.
“We’re your daughters, Dad. Remember, Louise and Maggie ?”
Moving closer to Maggie I peered at his pale sallow skin.
“Oh! Yes. I know you two. And you’re no angels, so I guess I’m not there, after all.”
His strained face broke into a beaming smile. A set of dazzling white plastic teeth glowed in the gloomy room.
“Do you want to be there, Dad ? In Heaven ?” I asked anxiously.
Kissing him I struggled with the lump in my throat, that had painfully surfaced, from the pit of my stomach. Maggie moved to the head of the bed. She gently stroked his thick crop of silky grey hair. The clammy ends, of which, fell into curls and clung to his gaunt neck.
Momentarily his eyes moistened. A thin bony hand with long knobbly fingers appeared from beneath the blankets. He rubbed his chin across the stubby beginnings of a beard.
“Heaven can wait. I’m doing all I’m told.”
He firmly squeezed my arm.
“I’m going to make it, you know.”
A statement. But it deserved an answer. Maggie, as usual, came to my rescue, “We’re here to help you get well,” she whispered. “And be happy, Daddy. We’re trying our best.”
“I know you are, my Pets.”
He stopped, letting his gaze and the silence speak endless words of love.
Like quick short steps along a soft sandy beach his breathing became swift and labored. The hazy sun slipped below the horizon. He heaved a gentle sigh. His journey was over.
“I’m not off to find a better place to go,” I heard his spirit say. “I reached my beautiful heaven, here, on earth.”
In remembrance of our wonderful Dad.
His love, courage and understanding enriched our lives.
We are truly blessed.
You will never be forgotten, Dad.