I left the home of an elderly man, having just pronounced him truly dead: his wife told me she kept touching his face to feel it, still warm though his breath was long gone. I pondered her words spoken in reverence, “We had a beautiful life”, both of them almost ninety and she could make such a statement.
I was awed.
Always cognizant of the strangeness of going into a home to tell the family that indeed their loved one is dead, and taking care of the “business” of “post mortem”; I am at the same time acutely aware of the heavy emotions pervading the atmosphere, and the blanket of grief that lays across the threshold of the home as I leave it.
I headed up the highway towards my next patient. I kept thinking of the song, The Long and Winding Road; that leads me to your door; and I considered the strangeness of
Death and Life, intertwined in my travelling. Majestic mountains were looming out my windshield, just a hint of spring turning the oaks a sage green color, edged with towering firs. Wrapped round the base of the mountains like a necklace was the river simply teaming with life.
The deep blues and grays of the sky were reflected in that same racing river that I followed, and yes, I kept reminding myself to watch the road but couldn’t stop gazing out the window, not wanting to miss the view: like a lone eagle, perched above the twisting river in a gnarled dead tree, surveying his territory.
Thankful for that, I felt reconnected to life.
I see a patient up this river road, and her name is Alice. I call her Alice in Wonderland, because of the magical sense I have each week when I make the trek. Especially on this
day, I felt the magic of life, the unending journey we are all on together, though death is part of it; death is not the end of it. Life keeps repeating itself, resurrection reminders like the harbingers of spring that I see along the road in the fresh green sprigs dancing gaily as my car speeds by… along the road we all travel.