Yesterday morning started out with so many good intentions. Before falling asleep, I asked God to wake me up early, in the silent hours of the morning so I could write some memoir content. So of course when the hour came, I ignored the purple promptings in my 3rd eye, and decided I needed another hour of sleep. Thinking all the while that I had nothing but time yesterday. I ran all my errands the day before and I only was obligated to hit the gym then I was free to let my creativity loose. As usual, my plans were not the Creator’s plans.
While I was in Starbucks, getting my morning motivation, I got a text that my Brother-in-Law’s Dad was about to transition and the whole family needed to get to the hospital. Since my niece attends college closer to my house and the hospital was on the other side of town, I decided to be a help and drive her to the hospital so she could see her grandfather before he passed. Since I am not immediate family and I am squeamish around emotion, I had no intention of being in the hospital room. I simply thought of myself as easing the burden on my sister and family by doing what I can do, which was drive.
Soooo, what had happened was, I pulled up to the hospital entrance, my niece jumped out and I took my time looking for parking. I then took my time meandering through the hospital to finally arrive at the ICU, and then I even took more time just waiting outside the doors to ensure that I missed all of the emotional goings on. Once I finally mustered up the nerve to find the room, I was welcomed in by his daughter. She was genuinely glad I came to show support and we just hugged and stood in silence watching her Dad on the breathing machine, with the rest of the family doing the same.
All of a sudden, the nurse comes in and says they’re ready to remove the machine. I see her unhook the tubes and disconnect the monitors and then I realized in horror what was about to happen. My face could have been a GIF at that moment because I was not prepared for all that transpired. This regal man of God, that I had seen for the last 2 decades of my life was desperately gasping for air as his soul left his body. Even though I had told myself that I wasn’t going to cry, the sobs escaped me uncontrollably because this was the most raw and painful sight I have ever experienced. When my own Mother passed, thankfully I missed her last moments. I don’t think I could have recovered from that sight. I always hear people say, ‘He passed peacefully surrounded my family and friends”, and that sounds so comforting and serene. That description is some bullshit, because this man was surrounded by family and friends but there was nothing peaceful about his labored breathing and the fact that we were all helpless to do anything. I’m sure the process took only a few minutes but it felt like hours to me. The expression on his face, mouth open, eyes staring blankly, will be burned on my brain forever.
What was so crazy was that prior to me going to Starbucks yesterday, I had a long conversation with my wife and another friend about grief and its lifelong effects. I explained how I went through a period of grief from late 2009 until about mid 2013, which began with my dear friend passing, my Mother, then my sister. Throughout the conversation I was fighting back tears but I thought that I had compartmentalized that sorrow enough that it wouldn’t pour out again in full force. I was wrong.
The other crazy thing was that my nephew’s birthday, his grandson, was yesterday and although it was a traumatic moment physically, I feel like the spiritual mantle was passed on to him when his grandfather transitioned. I have always noticed the physical similarities between them ever since he was born and my Mother prophesied that my nephew would be a preacher. Time will tell.
I woke up at 4am this morning wondering why I was allowed to be privy to such an intimate, vulnerable yet spiritually charged moment. Since he was such a noble man, I felt like I wanted to salute or stand at attention while he transitioned. I know he was welcomed into God’s bosom with a hearty “Well Done”, because he left a legacy of integrity and strength. I thoroughly respected him because he reminded me of the strong, West Indian men that I remember from my childhood. I don’t know if I was there for me or for his family or out of respect for my own Mother because he was such a great confidant to her, even up until her last night on earth. In any case, despite the tears I shed, I want to thank God for allowing me such a privilege. After witnessing death, I am once again assured that this physical body is only a shell and I need to continue strengthening my spirit, which is all that matters in the end.
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