Not Long Now...

rose

Not long now," the nurse says.

Can’t say I’ll be sorry when it comes.

I don’t want to die. I didn’t ask for this wretched cancer to eat away my life and wrack my body with pain.

So much pain.

So much.

They do what they can to mask the stench of death enveloping me, but it never fully works. I disgust myself. I hurt horribly.

So much pain.

So much.

They do what they can to ease it, but the drugs leave me stupefied and incoherent.

Is what I’m thinking now a single stream of consciousness or am I still fading in and out, as I have done for weeks on end?

"Not long now," they tell me.

Good.

I don’t want to die, but I can’t endure this much longer.

In the early stages I hoped for a miracle that didn’t come. So I’ve done my grieving this side of death. I don’t want to leave those I love. Even now, they still hope for a miracle. "Not long now" and I will have left them, and their hope for a miracle will mature into grief at my passing. I have sometimes thought it harder to die in faith than to be rescued with a miracle. "Not long now" and I’ll know for sure.

All my life I’ve hated and feared this enemy called death.

Everybody does.

But in the face of all this pain and suffering, the thought of "not long now" is almost a relief, an ironic source of hope.

It’s hard to think clearly when you’re hurting. There’s much in my mind and heart about what lies beyond the grave. I’ve walked with God for some time. Even now, as I lie helpless in the valley of the shadow of death, the Master holds my hand in his.

It’s one thing to imagine this pending moment when you’re young and healthy; quite another now that it has arrived. I am about to discover the truth or fallacy of all I have learned in walking with him.

It’s here.

I can feel it.

In the corner stands a single long-stemmed rose, brought by a friend.

So beautiful.

I’ll focus on it as I lapse again.

So beautiful…

As I lapse again…

…and again…

Not long now.

…and again…

WHAT ON EARTH!?

A sudden surge of something wonderful in an instant revives, relieves, rejuvenates, revitalizes me. Is this the miracle my loved ones hoped and prayed for till the very end? If it is, where’s my bed? Where’s the rose? Why am I so indescribably happy? What’s happening…?

I feel different — whole — free — free of pain. What happened to the pain? It already seems like a distant memory, but it was only seconds ago…or was it? Or was it a lifetime? Somehow it does not seem important. None of it now seems important.

I feel alive — more alive than I have ever felt before.

No more sorrow. No more pain. I feel tears, but they are tears of joy.

It can’t get any better than this, can it?

It can. I know it will. He said it would. I believe him!

I believed him in faith before this happened.

Now I cannot imagine ever having doubted.

Kerry Gubb
Photo: iStockphoto.com

Kerry Gubb
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