Thoughts on My Uncle’s Imminent Death
Memories claw at the corners of my mind,
Leaking out from the corners of my eyes.
How can this be?
The snapshots I keep of you in the recesses of my brain-
They do not age. How did you?
What is this absurdity?
You are laughing in my head
With your ridiculous sunvisor that comes
Pre-loaded with a quantity of hair that your
Bald pate hasn’t seen in all of the years that I’ve known you.
You are laughing
Or on the verge of laughing, with a beer in hand,
As we, your relatives and party guests, fill your house again
And then, if the weather is fair, pour forth into your backyard.
You are under a car,
Or a truck, working your mechanic magic
On whatever ails your client.
You are at the beach, and your
Only son is about to be married.
You are dying.
Oh…you were dying before now in
An intellectual sense. As in,
“We’re all going to die some day.” or
“Life’s hard sometimes, but it beats the alternative.” or
“Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Remember,
O Man, that you have been appointed unto death.”
Now, your family hastens to gather around you,
Hastens to your side to be there for the final hours,
For when the life support that has borne you up
Bears you no longer
And the agony that comes from knowing
May well be your last.
Hanging onto those breaths
As though they form a rope, holding you here
Holding you close, staving off that
Inevitable, accursed flat line.
And now…I am numb. I have wept, but I have no idea what’s happening in that hospital room or in the hearts and minds of my family. I don’t want to intrude and so I wait to hear from my parents or siblings. My brother called earlier today and he was the one who told me that everyone was gathering for the removal of life support. This was all the more unexpected as the last news I’d heard had him doing decently well on the ventilator after his open heart surgery on Monday. I want to pray, but I don’t know what to pray. Thankfully,
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27, NIV)
My request for you, my dear readers, is to cover my aunt and cousins, my mom, dad, and my mom’s remaining siblings and their families, in prayer. Ask God to comfort them and to draw them all close to him.