Edward hadn’t thought about dying.
He’d been too busy.
Lying in the ICU, listening to the countdown beep of machines and monitors, he thought about his life.
The years of struggle. Working two, sometimes three jobs. Moving apartment to apartment, saving money to replace a car, finish college, start a family. Looking forward to a few days of vacation every year. The sleepless nights, long commutes, paying off debts. Working to exhaustion–for what turned out to be a nonexistent retirement.
As Edward stared at the blank ceiling, he suddenly saw his wife, already buried.
He was holding her hand.
Both felt so confident about the future.
Together they were fighting the good fight. They were repapering cabinets in the little kitchen of their fixer upper house, repelling another invasion of cockroaches. Laughing as they watched their first soufflé collapse. Laughing as they walked down to the convenience store to buy frozen dinners. Planning an impossible trip around the world while cuddling on the threadbare couch. Binging on terrible TV shows. Laughing about their crappy jobs.
Edward recalled cold nights wrapped in warm arms. A first, second, third child. Mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. Barbeques in the backyard. Losing at ping pong with the kids.
There was that flat tire during the epic family road trip to the Grand Canyon. The year he fell off the ladder while hanging Christmas lights and how he’d laughed too. The endless antics of nutty neighbors, club members, his many friends. His ever growing family gathered on Saturday nights at that same old spaghetti restaurant–laughing–laughing–laughing–
Living, he finally realized, is a fight against death.
And death was about to win.
“You have visitors,” a voice said.
Edward recognized his grown children standing above him. He couldn’t understand what they were saying. He lowered his eyes and saw two of his grandchildren playing down by the floor.
They didn’t know that death lay before them.
The little girl made a funny face at the little boy. Both laughed.
Suddenly Edward laughed with them.
Death wouldn’t win.