Friday, April 7, 2017

a return to "beautiful"...

today's date is very bittersweet...
 it was the day our gary left us.
he went to heaven.

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(gary and i)

sixteen years ago, today, i awoke early. i still remember the light coming into the bedroom from the den at gary's and linda's house on lake misty. i don't even have to try very hard to conjure up the scent of plumeria, which was the fragrance of the body lotion i'd applied the night before - nor imagine the way the soft yellow, cotton pajamas trimmed with pink gingham ribbon i was wearing felt on my body.

i awoke excited,

(the night before, lindagary's wife/my beloved sister-in-law, and i had watched 20/20 where there was talk of a new miracle drug for certain types of cancer. as soon as the episode had ended, we, linda right behind me, climbed the stairs to the second floor of the house to tell gary about the drug. we were so confident this was going to be the "it" drug, gary's miracle!
however, when we reached the top landing we found john watching tv and gary sound asleep in his hospital bed. john said he'd just fallen asleep. 
i gave linda a hug and john a kiss on the forehead and headed off to bed. i knew the next day was going to be a big one... for, all john's and gary's brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and cousins were coming. the day was forecast to be the first warm, sunny, saturday of the spring. gary was looking forward to boating on the lake for the first time of the season.)

i was elated...
 gary was going to have a wonderful day! linda and i had good news to share with him when he awoke, and there was strong feeling of GOD in the air! i walked into the den, and john looked over at me from the recliner he'd slept in the night prior. 

i grinned at him.
he told me gary had slept through the night (unusual given the amount of pain he'd been experiencing). i turned around and looked at his chest to see if he was still breathing.

he was... 
i caught my breath.

although i thought linda was still in bed asleep, she was not. she came up the stairs and said she'd started the coffee. then she looked at me and commented she couldn't believe gary had slept so well (he'd not slept through the night in months) and she was really happy he had slept well given the big day he was going to have.

since gary was still asleep, i told linda i would drive into town and pick up the groceries we needed. (we'd made a list the night prior and had placed it on gary's night stand.)

as i walked over to pick up the piece of paper, gary started stirring. the chain of events which happened next happened quickly (yet, at the same time, in slow motion). i remember it all as though it were yesterday... 
even after all these years. 

in hindsight, i suppose gary was experiencing a seizure of some sort (though no one ever said so), for, with clinched teeth and eyes tightly shut, he started violently flailing his body.

initially the three of us stood frozen- 

then, all of the sudden, gary opened his eyes. bugging them, he looked like he was riding on a very frightening roller coaster ride
-holding on for dear life!

immediately, linda grabbed her phone to call hospice,
john and i rushed to him, and
we tried to settle him.

in tandem, we called his name
and touched him.

there was calm.

i stood beside his bed and patted his shoulder, john rubbed his foot, and linda did-around... preparing for hospice to arrive. 

all of the sudden, 
i recall time seemed to stand still.
i looked up...

God, what am i supposed to do?

HE answered, 
"don't just do something, sit there!"

obediently, i climbed into gary's hospital bed next to him and rubbed his head noticing a little of his hair had begun to regrow.

with the calm, came gary. he started mumbling, talking, and then, after gathering his thoughts, asked what had happened. i told him it was just a bad dream. john, not holding back, told him he'd scared the shit out of us!


thank GOD there was laughter!

 in actuality, we were all still very scared, but, hope had returned. 

as time passed linda tended to gary's needs, john nervously chitchatted with gary,
and, i... 

i remained in the bed next to gary
-just as God had instructed. 


then a blessing happened. 
gary reached over and laid his hand atop mine. 
he patted it gently.

"look, dani," he said to me.
"look through the roof."


"do you see it?" he asked me.

there was silence.

the three of us turned our undivided attention to gary.

i asked, "what did you say, gary?"

he repeated, "look through the roof,
isn't it beautiful?"


and with that he looked over at linda,
he told her he loved her,
and smiled...

gary shut his eyes and never opened them again.

at least not on this earth...


when he shut them here, i believe he continued to see the beautiful place he tried to share with me... that beauty-filled place free from pain, the place where his heavenly FATHER was waiting to welcome him home.

later that afternoon, gary took his last earthly breath and, as willie nelson's "stardust" played sweetly in the background, he took his first heavenly breath as he crossed the threshold of heaven's pearly gates.


i love God with all i am
and thank Him for the blessing he bestowed
upon us that saturday morning
sixteen years ago today.

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx