10 years ago (3,653 days)
It was early in the morning and I had gotten up off the sofa next to the hospital bed to get ready for work. Steve Shepherd was coming over to be with Jim and the kids were getting ready for school. Jim’s breathing was labored, waking me up several times that night. At the time, I didn’t know it was the death rattle, and that it was to be his last day on earth. Steve showed up and when I tried to rouse Jim, he refused to open his eyes. Instead he winced. So, I called out at work and called my mom. Steve stayed for awhile and prayed over Jim. From there the day is a bit fuzzy and foggy.
As the day rolled on in semi slow motion, we let family know that if they wanted to see Jim they should come by – and they did. My parents. Jim’s dad and Linda. John and Mary Ellen. Laurie and Ron. The Lundes. John Coulombe. Barry Corey. The kids got home from school and several of their leaders and friends came by. We prayed. We sang songs of praise. We talked to him. Kissed him. Patted and held him.
At about 7 in the evening he opened his eyes and looked around. He had tears in his eyes as he looked at his kids. He probably would have been irritated to have so many people there making such a fuss, but at that point it was too late. It was about 30 minutes later when Steve and Janis, our best friends, showed up. It was as though Jim was waiting for them. Steve leaned over him, touched his chest and told him that he was there and would keep his promise to watch out for our family. I whispered in his ear that I loved him. I whispered that he should go the minute he saw Jesus and that we would miss him but we would be okay. I whispered over again and again promises as I tried to make our last minutes together on earth private .and ours alone.
“Stay with us” we all collectively pleaded. I held my best friend. He was getting ready to go where I could not follow. It was a holy moment. Jesus came into the room with us and held us each before picking Jim up and carrying Him home! It was collectively the hardest day of my life and the holiest moment I have ever experienced.
Since then, I hate how far away Jim feels. I hate how much I miss him. I hate cancer. I hate death. But I am content to know that our story is not over. It is one of joy and happily ever after. I have only had 3,653 days without Jim but when we’ve been there 10,000 years, we have no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun!