I touch your forehead and you take my hand.
Itís new to us, but it feels so right,
like an angel is here to guide the touch
between a dying man and the part of him
he leaves behind.
That part is me.
Iím warm in my bed at night, waiting for the awful sound
that stirs me from my dreamland.
This is reality Ö itís true and itís real.
No matter how angry or sad I am, or how much it hurts,
I have to hear him suffer.
íPlease can you help me? I canít stand any more.í
A humble plea for help from a man who once stood proud,
who is now ashamed that he can no longer command anyone or anything,
not even his own body.
The shame in his eyes frightens me as it steals his dignity.
ĎPlease come and sit with me again,í he asks.
ĎI am scared, but I wonít say it out loud, not here.
Please donít cry when Iím gone, donít be sad.
Be happy, donít let my memory cause you tears.
Wherever I am, Iíll be happy too.
They are waiting for me, the ones who passed before me.
These are the only comforts that can take away the agony of my regrets.
Please donít do what I have done; donít only live for tomorrow.
Plan for the future, but live for today.í
Havenít we all heard that before?
For this man whose life was young
but whose body is now old and nearing its end,
it is now too late.
Night after night, we wait and watch.
Day after day, we know itís coming.
He does too, but he canít understand why.
All we can do is hope that when heís gone,
life still goes on, holding our memories to our hearts.
ĎItís getting closer, please hold my hand,í he begs.
ĎIím scared and not sure where I am.
I canít settle down, the light keeps me awake,
and yet the room is dark because I can no longer see.
I know you are here.
People are drifting into my mind and out again.
I want to fight Ö but the lightÖ the light.
Please tell me, doctor, how do I get through to the other side?
I do see a door, but I canít open it, I canít leave yet.
I resist and I agonise and itís hell on earth Ö but Iím not ready.
My arms are flailing for something to grasp;
any speck of reality that remains in this room that was part of my human life.
And soon that door will open to let me through.
Iím still fighting to the very end, my will is still strong,
even if my body is gone and wracked with pain.
My mother, my father, my brother, they see me.
A glow of warmth is beckoning.
But I didnít finish my time here.
I didnít finish my life and itís just not fair.
But my wife, my daughters Ė and their daughters too;
Iíll know them, even those unborn, with their blue eyes and golden hair.
Finally the joy is seeping in. The light is here! The door is open!
I have found my mother Ö she sees me. Itís easier now.
She tells me what I want to hear, that I am not dying alone.
My family are here now, just a little too late, but here.
They enter my room and see just the shell of what I was.
This shell of my body carried me through that life, just a vessel,
but my soul is gone, rising upwards on a stream of stars.
They kiss me and touch me and say their goodbyes,
but I am up here in the soft, comforting, warm light of my new life,
looking down and loving them forever.
The sadness will pass in time, so please donít cry.
Enjoy the relief. I am sorry I made you suffer so,
for I suffer no more and that is what I want for you.
I havenít forgotten my life there on earth,
Iíll keep in touch.
I left something behind for you, something I lost.í
One year to the day, the pain has subsided and life goes on.
We donít want to forget, but our lives have moved on.
Standing in the garden, talking with a friend, something glistens,
there in the grass where she has been many times since he left,
something he lost when it slipped off his wasted finger.
A symbol of their never ending bond.
A wedding ring.
He found it for her.
And she cries.
For he is here.
© Annette Hansen