The Black Bridge of Perpetuity

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the end of the road

The baggage of old age, impossible to shed

Gnarled bones, fading sight, shrunken frame

Adapting to ailments, enduring the pain

Fretting over the unavoidable, the scythe and black hood

The process we all have to face, the mandatory law

The end of the road

Journey complete

Longevity does little to block the fear

Of the unknown

Yet a voice of reason settles my concerns

Why worry about the inescapable?

An eternity without suffering

Accept it and be free

Reminisce and be thankful

For a life that has experienced much

Joy

Heartache

Love

Pain

And the wonderful people

Who made your life complete

They stand over my bed, faces torn with grief

My darling wife, resolute, clinging to hope

Children we reared, families of their own

Unfolding new chapters of human exploration

I force a thin smile

A pinch of fight remains

A weak flame

I must rest

Close my eyes

To preserve some energy

Kisses brush my brow

Hands touch my shoulder

Soft voices whisper in my ear

They'll be back soon

I drift off into a morphine-infused slumber

And I dream

A dream like no other

I'm standing on a black bridge

A chasm below me

A drop that appears eternal

I walk a couple of steps

A new world opens up

A landscape of astonishing beauty

Crisp azure sky

Holding a baking buttery sun

Inaccessible snow-capped mountains

Overlooking a crystal clear lake

Surrounded by a vast coniferous forest

And beds of nectar-rich flowers

Releasing sweet scents

I breathe deeply

Chest no longer protesting

The air tastes of purity

Of goodness

Unspoiled

Where am I?

Where's the pain?

Omnipresent pain

Caused by that terrible disease

Slowly eating my insides

I no longer feel it

Only exhaustion

So tired ...

And then they appear

Several figures

Coming my way

They stop

Ten feet separates us

I see a group of smiling faces

A woman takes a step forward

She speaks without opening her mouth

Hello Son, we've missed you so much

It takes a moment before I realize

Mother

Dear Mother

Younger than I recall

Healthy

Radiant 

And behind Mother, I see other familiar faces

Father

Gran

Grandpa

Brothers

Sisters

All long gone

And a dog appears

Ben, my childhood pet

Tail wagging like crazy

This is a most wonderful dream!

I never want to wake

Mother speaks

It is your time, my child

Time?

For what?

You have crossed over

Look behind you

Then you will understand

I turn my head

And peer through a fine mist

I'm lying in a hospital bed

Family by my side

Tears and hugs aplenty

Overwhelmed with sorrow

Life support exhibiting a steady flat line

My face ashen

Gaunt

Mouth agape

Body emaciated

I understand

Come, my child, your journey has just begun

 

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