A grandmother's last visit. Previously published in Wild Violet Literary Magazine.
The Last Visit
She comes in the night, in a dream, to tell of her passing. She is a woman not nearly old enough with a disease that has robbed her of everything. In this final grasp at fleeting life, she appears to the one she loves, saying good-bye in the night realm, now that she has no earthly voice of her own.
“It’s time. He’s coming for me,” she says, a serene smile on her wrinkled face, eyes shining brightly with excitement. “I know you’ll miss me.”
“I will...” The words break the silence of a sleeping mind, a mind that has no will to wake, knowing these are the last moments with her. “Why now?”
“He’s been waiting for me, and now he says it’s time, Sweetie. Your Grandpa has been a patient man, but now he’s telling me it’s time. My brother is there waiting for me, too, and it’s been so long since I’ve seen him.” There is an almost euphoric ring to her voice then. She’s leaving and can’t seem to wait, but there is more to show. And her image becomes hazy and transparent, the effect lasting only a moment.
She’s in church, in the vestibule, arranging Easter Lilies in a blue vase. Her hands are moving slow and gracefully. It’s then, just as the last lily is dropped into the vase, that her eyes go over her shoulder to the service taking place. It’s her service, her funeral, and there, in front of the pulpit, is her casket.
“The Lord is my Shepherd...” rings out through the church and she turns as if the words are a bell tolling just for her. She slowly fades as she nears her shell of a body, and she is no longer in the church, no longer attending a sermon just for her.
The service station near her house is the landscape now, and she is silent; she’s waiting. Time has no meaning here; what seems like an hour is only a second, and what seems like a second can last hours. It’s painful watching her wait, her eager stare narrowed on the long ribbon of road ahead. Then he’s there, topping the hill in their car, the old yellow Ford. He turns into the station and greets her with a beaming smile, a smile filled with eons of love.
“I love you,” echoes through a slumbering mind as the dream world cascades away. She’s gone now, with a final loving and compassionate good-bye.