If I didn’t know better, I’d thought he was peacefully napping.
In the hospital, time stood still as I gazed down at the man who fought his demons since I’d known him. Vivid memories of our fifteen years of marriage before it ended many years ago, churned in my mind’s eye: his dimpled smile, lilting voice, broad shoulders, bow-legged stance, the shuffling of his feet when he walked, his unselfish generosity. Recurring thoughts raced through my mind of all the what ifs? At that moment, nothing else mattered. I remembered the good and not the bad, his strengths, instead of his weaknesses, his triumphs instead of his failures.
Anna Marie barged into the room, rushing to his side as if to wake him from sleeping. “Dad! Dad!” she shouted, shaking him. “Dad!”
“Anna,” I spoke sharply and held her hand still. I softened my tone, “He’s gone.”
“But why, Mom? Why…?”
“Anna, I don’t know. It was his time; he was ready to go. He never wanted to grow old, become a burden . . .” my voice trailed off. I recalled what he had said, how he wouldn’t live past sixty, as if sixty was old, too old, and he never wanted to get “like that.” How soon the years pass.
“No, Mom!” Anna Marie shook her head in disbelief, red face. “Not yet!” she sobbed.
I held her tight and cried with her.
Soon the others arrived. We gathered around. My baby girl, Angela, was nine months pregnant with her first and due any day. Naturally, I was concerned for her well-being. But when she gently placed Donny’s immobile hand over her swollen belly, I broke down.
As always, Mark — my husband of eight years — was there by my side to comfort me.
(A short excerpt from Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace)
Note: Eleven years ago today, the father of my children sadly passed away. It was just six days before Christmas. Ten days after bidding him farewell, the cycle of life continued as we celebrated the birth of our grandson.
I am reminded of this passage of scripture: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born and a time to die …” Ecclesiastes 3:1,2
© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved