In the last few days, my father has gotten visibly weaker. His legs don't hold him up. Even his voice sounds tired. However, to his great dismay, the hospice nurse says he has not yet made it to the actual "dying" process. I guess that means that his body is not working at peak performance, but it still gets the job done. Philosophical discussions about holding on or letting go are not met with much interest or enthusiasm. Basically it comes down to God's timing. Until that comes we all have to wait.
Around 5 am Dad called me into his room. He needed to be cleaned up, the sheets changed, etc. Once that was done he asked me not to leave him. He felt "tight" and didn't want to be alone. I crawled up on the bed with him, keeping my hand on his chest so I could feel it moving. I didn't know what "tight" meant. It wasn't going away so I called Hospice triage. After several questions it was determined that maybe he was feeling anxious and an extra dose of medication might calm him down. Gradually we both went to sleep.
Tonight he told our priest that he had a new understanding of things. That what he experienced last night felt like angels were fitting him with his heavenly suit. He was ready to put it on but it didn't fit. Whoever did the measuring was way off - thus the tight feeling. We all kind of chuckled and Fr. Miguel said there was a passage in Revelation that talks of the same thing. Some people tell of seeing a tunnel or bright light during a pre-death experience . It makes perfect sense to me that my father, the engineer, whose motto has always been measure twice, cut one, would wrestle with an angel whose measurements were off a bit.
At both the beginning and end of life we are at the mercy and grace of the Divine timekeeper. Our free will neither starts nor stops until the Creator's plan for us is set in motion. At this time of year there is a heightened expectancy to our waiting. Our senses are magnified so that holiday smells and sounds increase our anticipation of the magic that is to come. We eat and drink too much causing our dressy clothes to feel tight. Is that what it's like to cross over from this world to the next? As the time draws near does a subconscious awareness of something far greater than we can imagine cause our waiting to seem interminable? Does shedding this body for a heavenly suit made by measuring-challenged angels feel like kicking high-heeled shoes off swollen feet when the last of the Christmas parties is over?
I know I'm asking questions no one can answer. I guess I'll just have to wait to find out for myself. I'm getting pretty good at waiting.
Tonight my wish for you is a peaceful sleep under the watchful eye of a company of angels,