It was the strangest feeling he ever had. He felt a gentle pull, like he was being swept into a small ocean current and he was surrounded by softness as he slowly rose above the room. He smiled, thinking that this was a dream and it was weird and he was kind of enjoying it. He heard soft whisperings in his ear but he was more intrigued by what was happening in this dream.
He saw his mother come into the room and turn towards the TV, saying something about why it was so loud. He hadn’t noticed it was loud. Then he realized. He seemed to be watching a movie in slow motion.
He saw his mother cry his name. It was when she climbed onto the bed, that he saw himself down below, laying back, arms to his side, as if he were sleeping.But he wasn’t. He was here, dreaming.
He watched his mother look right up at him, yelling, “Oh, God! Oh, God. What did I do?”
She wrapped her arms around his body, holding him tightly. The sound that echoed through the room and into the morning air he had never heard before. His chest began to pound and his mind was racing with a myriad of thoughts. What in the world was happening?
He wanted to call out to tell her he was right there, that everything would be fine, just as she had always told him. As he reached down to touch her shoulder, his father came to the doorway. The father who taught he and his older brother about the things that were good and useful and organized. The man who had taught them all things baseball, basketball, golf. He was present in their lives. He showed them both by his example what a good man should be.
Something was nagging at his thoughts. Whispers…Come here. It’s okay. It’s time.
His father dialed 911 and in an instant he thought he could feel his mother’s arms as they lowered him down to the floor, but that didn’t make sense. His mother listened to his chest and began CPR. He could barely hear his father speaking into the phone, and then saying to his mom,” The lady wants to hear you counting. “
He smiled when he heard her call back,” Tell her I know CPR.” She continued pumping and counting and breathing, not giving up until the medics came into the room.
This was without a doubt the weirdest dream ever and he wanted to wake up. With every effort he tried to wake. He tried to will himself back into the real. But the movie below him was now moving forward as he slowly began to realize exactly what was happening.
With one last prayer, he begged himself to wake up. “I don’t like this movie…” he remembered himself saying when he was a little boy. “I just don’t like this movie!” The tears trickled down his cheeks into nowhere as he began to listen to the gentle whisperings in his ear. softly beckoning to come with them. In an instant, he realized that this was not just a bad dream. This was a nightmare, one he would not wake from.
He was dying.
In a few moments, in spite of his mother’s efforts, this would be it. He made one last effort to go back into his body. As quickly as the snap of a finger, he was lying on the floor as the paramedics asked his mom gently to step away. She leaned over him and kissed his forehead and for a moment, he felt a touch of sadness where she kissed him. He realized it was her tears. Then she moved away.
In that moment, with that touch, he felt the embrace of a hundred unseen arms gently pulling him up to where he now belonged. With all his effort and all his love, he looked up into the face of his mom, haloed in light. Mama Dukes. With great sadness, he knew it was time.
With an overwhelming nausea that hit the pit of himself, he saw one of the medics look at his watch and call his time of death. He heard his father, who had been standing at the door, arms bracing the sides, cry out, “Oh, no no no My God no!” He had never heard that kind of sound coming from his father. Then his father turned away and from the distance, he heard his father crying. He had never seen his father cry.