August 23, 2017

The boy who cheated death

Tomorrow it will be five months since my son passed away and I meditate on him each day. 
There are an endless stream of powerful memories, endless crises but also his smiles and the knowledge that nothing was left undone nor unfinished.

Death, I suppose, was an unwanted house-guest who had stayed with us for so long already that I bore him no resentment. Except for those times, each day, when he would tap me on my shoulder and ask, “Is it time?” 
He couldn't hide his disappointment when I would softly say, “No.” It was at those moments that I would be busy working to revive my son or reduce the damage to his lungs or increase the sedation flowing into his veins, each remedy according to the nature of its cause. Often, finally able to catch a few minutes of sleep I would feel his icy hand on my shoulder, as Death roused me and asked, “Is it time?” And in a fit I would jump up and go to work; reviving my son or reducing the damage to his lungs or increase the flow of sedation into his veins. 'No', I would say, 'It's not time.'

But after nineteen years Death had become rather bored of our predictable exchange and could often be seen wandering off. Then, finally, the time had come; we knew that the monumental purpose that we had given ourselves had come to an end. There would be no more reviving. We chose together that it was time to let go of this life, on our terms: we knew that it was time.

Suddenly there was a scream from the other room and then death came running back in. He called out frantically, “Is it time?!”. His fist was trembling as he raised it, asking, “Is. It. Time?”. I locked my gaze with his and shook my head.

"You're too late.” I said. “You're too late.”


  1. How eloquently you have written of your pain, of the daily exchange with death being a house guest that just would not, could not leave... I wept. Virtual Hugs as your grieving process continues.