I stood at the foot of his bed.
In that plain white room.
To be more precise, less than half of this plain white room. That really almost appears grungy grey. Not because of dirt, but because of it’s lack of energy. That’s where he lay. Clean bed. Evidence of food, water, and care. Can’t deny those things. They are all around him in the bland interior of where he will lie out the remainder of his days.
In the windowsill, because he was lucky enough to get that bed, sit four picture frames. With people who represent his family.
There are no pictures on the walls. No personal touches like his own bedspread or comforter or pillow. No over stuffed chair he could recline in. No dresser to put his own belongings in or on.
I stood there watching and listening while he spoke with someone else.
He entertained us, though I don’t think that was his purpose, by telling us stories of his life. And I envisioned him in the sun. Building his house. Laughing with his wife. Living life. He laughed and we smiled. His eyes went back and forth between us, pulling us both, welcoming us both, to his life.
I wished, not for the first time, to be able to go back. As if I had a super power, to go back and be in a moment of his life when I could see him as he remembered himself. To experience that hot sun he surely felt as he hammered and nailed the frame of his house together. To feel the excitement of moving in and celebrating the holidays they so much enjoyed. I would pick that as my super power if ever given the chance. To be present for the moments of life when people are strong and life is theirs. I want that experience of theirs, to matter to me, to feel it. It may only be a story to some. But when I hear him tell it-it’s his existence. It’s what mattered once and matters still.
He talked for as long as he could about these stories. And I didn’t want him to have to come back to today any more than any one of us there listening to him did, surely though, not as much as he.
We all came back to this day. And our purpose. I liked where we were, better.
I’m pretty sure we all did.
I looked at the white, lackluster walls, the curtain that served as his privacy. Where once, an entire house built by his hand, served that purpose.
I’ve got news for you. You don’t think you’re going there. Neither did he. Or any one of those old souls who lived with purpose and intent to master this thing we call life.
But there he is.
There, so shall some of us, be.