Al was not sleeping too much. He lost interest in the TV. He enjoyed hearing us read from the Bible to him. He no longer could listen to the ear phones because of the damage to his ear.
His skin became sort of see-through color. His nail beds had been gray for many months but now his hands were turning grey. Nurses and I always checked his feet because sometimes as death appears the feet will change in color.
I would check Al over with a fine tooth comb. I prayed for him to go to heaven but I fought for my own selfish reasons he would remain with me. I barely slept anymore. Except for the caregivers I took care of Al myself for these past seven years. My own body was fighting in a survival mode. I was always and will remain ever so thankful for my best friend Lezlie, who came to stay with me. I am not sure how long she stayed but it was several weeks. This allowed me to vent, and cry and try to rest.
My heart squeezed so hard for I knew in my soul Al was leaving me. There were two times that I mentioned to you earlier that Al spoke to me. I have no doubt that God allowed this to happen because I needed to hear what he had to say.
The first time was when I was in the living room. I heard his voice and I about tripped over myself from shock that he had spoken and raced in there. He said, ” Do you see him?” I replied, ” No, I don’t see anyone.”
” Right there, right beside you, Jesus is here. He says it is time to go home and to tell you that I am going to be alright.”
I grabbed his hand. Oh please hold on a second as I wipe my eyes. I can’t see the words I am typing. It is so fresh in my mind and my heart is not yet healed. Alright, I am back. I took his hand and held it and I spoke for the two of us to God. I thanked God for getting Al and me through this. I thanked him for keeping me strong.
Al was very concerned about his coca cola and car collection. He begged to die but he was fighting it not wanting to leave his possessions behind. I told him, You take with you whatever you want bud. God will make room.” I think this made him feel better.
Pastors and Hospice staff, and myself tried several times to help Al pass on to the other side, but he was afraid. He didn’t know what to expect, but do any of us? Ideas had been exhausted. I believe that God planted an idea in my mind.
With Al’s mentality I went to his bedside. I told him I wanted to explain something to him. I started saying to him, ” You know how you and I always took our vehicles into the garage to get their oil changed? Well this is what God wants you to do. Get a body change. He will heal you bud, and make everything new.”
I saw tears flow down my brother’s eyes. I knew I had said it in a way he understood. Al cried and I cried. I sat with Al for hours, just holding his hand. I had Christian music playing in the background, and when he seemed tired of that I would put his favorite movie in the DVD player, A Christmas Story. Al would listen to that over and over.
He seemed to drift off so I left the room. I could barely walk from exhaustion and stress and my aching heart. I had sat down for about a half-an-hour when I heard his voice the second time.
I walked in to his room and stood by his bed. I picked up his hand and gave it a kiss. He looked right at me and said, ” Sis, I know that you took good care of me. I appreciate it and I love you sis. You should always remember that I love you.”
I bawled like a big baby. All those seven years I was never sure if Al saw me, his sister, or his dad in me. We had struggled as I said in earlier chapters, so when he said this, it was the best gift I had ever received. I couldn’t let got of his hand. I just kept stroking it. He drifted off to sleep once again.
I sat with him for a while and then went back to the living room. My friend was asleep in the bedroom and it was very late. I decided to rest on the couch. I dozed off and on. Every time I woke I went in and checked Al.
The skies lightened up and day break had broken. I got up and went into check on Al and he was gone. My brother was gone. I just broke into the biggest sobs I had ever experienced. I stood by his side whispering to him how much I loved him.
Today, it has been three months since my brother passed away. My heart still feels a huge void and my home is very quiet. Friends have appeared and am helping me to get back out into the world, but it is hard. Sometimes I can go out and do pretty good. Other times I can’t and I come home to cry in my pillow. By the grace of God and my family and friends, I shall get through this. I will never forget my dearest brother, and I will never forget what a cruel illness took his life. My purpose of writing this book is to help others to not be as afraid as I was.
Changes happen quickly. You can not count sometimes from hour to hour what will happen. Make sure you tell your loved ones how much you care. Talk about the good things. Talk about the memories you shared together. Remember, the memory is not touched by MSA.
I love you buddy. I miss you but I know you are saving a spot for me in heaven, just like you promised.