The Dance Ahead
The big band music starts and I leap to my feet...leap! My poodle skirt swings and my little white tennis shoes twist me, Jitterbugging with Ted at the soda shop. I twirl, twist and shake my torso like I'm twenty-five years old. No gnarled hands grasp Ted to prevent falling, no shuffling feet fear losing their balance, and the only reason my head is shaking is to keep the music's beat. This is who I am. This dancing, laughing, carefree barely-an-adult girl who loves life. I see this through my rheumy eyes lying in my hospital bed.
In and out of this dream-reality state I go. When I see my young self, all the worries and sadnesses that occupy my current days recede. I know the next world holds all that was beautiful in this world. When Ted was dying, the cancer took his eyesight before it took his voice. But he saw and described uplifting moments. Our children saw a father hallucinating and talking nonsensibly; I saw hope, excitement, and purpose in the eyes and words of my husband. I know now that what he saw was genuine-real people in real situations experiencing real events and being part of them in his finest form. Now, it's my turn; my kids surround my bedside, fearful of my departure, but I look forward with anticipation. Relief and excitement dance in my eighty-five-year-old bones: the next life will be an eternal environment of all that I love. Peace, joy, and contentment course through me even as arthritis, Parkinson's Disease, and clogged arteries do, too.
Death ends life on earth, but it doesn't end life. I have so many glimpses of the joy that lives beyond. Ted saw it and tried to describe it to me. I feel almost giddy when I see that young girl dancing on the floor; she intrigues me, and I want to join. I will... when it's time.