She didn’t sleep all that long cold night. I know because when I would roll over on the pullout couch and lean up on my elbow to listen to the shallow rise and fall that breath has when death has come upon it, she would be sitting in the armchair we had tucked her into amongst pillows and blankets and she would be staring.
I think she was trying to will it away.
After sixty-five years, I don’t imagine there’s a lot he wouldn’t do for her when asked. There’s a lot he might have grumbled about in the most endearing way, saying, “Woman! I told you I would get to that.” But he always gave her what she wanted; he always gave her what she needed out of a deep abiding love.
But he couldn’t give her this. He couldn’t fight past tumors and cancer eating away at a body that in the end had become a mere shell of the robust man he’d once been. The man who was tough enough for camping when it was below freezing in the north Georgia mountains but gentle enough for hand holding on any given day.
He fought well in death, but in the end, when she took his hand and sat by his bedside and stroked his hair, she told him he could stop without words and without despair.
She finally knew his fight on earth was done.
My grandfather, whose name is carried in my father and brother and son, left us for heaven this past Friday morning. A friend texted me and told me I should write Five Minute Friday because the word was fight and it was so appropriate for our circumstances. But I wasn’t ready for the words, though in the end, this morning, five minutes was the restriction I needed not to overthink his well-lived life.
Linking up with Crystal for Behind the Scenes as well. Late on that one, too, but in this community grace abounds. Join us to tell the story behind the photo?