The next day I told my boyfriend, Jim, about Rick. I was struggling with the fact that Rick was dying. I told Jim what had happened that day in the apartment. How I felt I was being a channel for Rick in his transition. This was new experience for me in dealing with death this close up and wasn’t sure I could continue. Little did I know the real reward would reveal itself soon.
The last time I visited Rick in his apartment, I brought some soothing music. The night before had been rough and he hadn’t slept much. He was getting worse. The disease was winning. Rick confided in me that he now understood and was able to accept that he was dying.
A couple of days later at Jazzercise, Abby told me that Rick was back in the hospital. I visited him that very afternoon. His brother, parents, sister and friends filled up the small hospital room.
A hush fell over the room as I walked in. Even though I hadn’t met most of his family, they all knew who I was. Rick’s mom asked, “Are you going to hold his fingers and toes today?”
I smiled and replied, “No, not today.” I pulled up a chair on the right side of Rick. Kim, another good friend of Ricks, sat on his left. As I sat down, she looked up at me sadly, her soft, curly brown hair hiding her tears.
“Hi Rick.” I said and picked up his frail right hand.
Immediately, he opened his eyes and smiled, “Hi.”
“How are you?” I asked, looking deeply into his eyes. “Have you been talking with your angels?”
He garbled out, “I’m leaving tomorrow.”
I leaned closer because I wasn’t sure what I heard. “What did you say?”
“I’m leaving tomorrow.” he said again, much clearer.
This time, Kim heard it too. We looked at each other in complete understanding. He fell asleep right after that.
I turned around toward the family and told them what Rick had just said. His sister ran out of the room crying.
Rick’s longtime friend Steve said, “Oh, he probably means he’ll be leaving the hospital tomorrow.” But we all knew what Rick really meant.
A nurse came in to check Rick’s pulses. His liver and kidney were shut down. His heart was the only thing keeping him alive now. He was operating on pure heart level.
I left the room shortly thereafter. Steve stopped me in the hall way and thanked me for all I had done. He suddenly became emotional and blurted out how frustrated he was with the way Rick’s family was handling everything. I just listened. Nurses came and went around us as he told me another side of the story. Rick’s family were Jehovah Witnesses and didn’t believe in the after life or even having much of a life on this planet. The sadness that revolved around this family was oozing profusely. Everyone was hurting and death to just too scary to handle.
Around 9 pm that night, I called the hospital to say goodbye once more. The phone was answered by one of his friends, a lot of confusion and a loud bleeping noise echoed into the phone. Finally, one of his friends held the phone to Rick’s ear while we attempted to have a conversation.
“How are you doing, Rick?” I ask.
I could see the smile in his voice as he garbled, “ Fine, all my friends are here.”
“Rick, I see you floating in a tunnel of light. Do you see it?” The loud, irritating bleeping noise was back making our conversation strained.
“I see you floating toward that light without a care in the world. Doesn’t it feel wonderful? Shall we try to do another meditation?” I fumbled with my words, wanting to keep him on the line.
“Call me tomorrow,” he yells clearly, “Call me tomorrow”, he said again firmly.
“Ok, Rick. Good night.”