My body does not work well, you see. It is old and it is tired. Unfortunately my mind is unwavering. In my mind I am dancing and laughing. I am young and carefree. The mirror is a harsh reminder of the stranger I have become.
Cracks line my face, cracks that were once the side effect of a boasting grin, are now like cruel scars mocking my once happy life.
I am not scared of aging, I should say. Rather, I am inconvenienced by it. The things I once did with little effort are unfortunate chores I must attend to, or rather unfortunate chores one of my children must attend to for me.
I am ready to die. They don’t like to hear me say it, but I am.
I have lived a thousand lives in my eighty-seven years here on Earth. I have met some of the most interesting people, my grandchildren being some of them.
But I am ready to die. They won’t hear of it, but I am.
I married a woman with a heart of gold, who gave me four beautiful children. I watched them grow and give me beautiful grandchildren. Then I watched my beautiful wife become ill.
I was ready when she went, but I knew she’d want me around longer to watch over the grand kids.
They’re mostly grown now. Characters, so they are. I love them dearly and they love me. I’ll be sad to leave them, but I’ll be keeping an eye.
I am ready to die now. I think they have begun to accept this, I hope they have.
I am lying in my bed, surrounded by my children. They do not know that I can hear them, but I can. They are laughing and telling of stories of their childhoods.
I am content in this moment between life and death.
I can hear the laughter of my children, my children who have grown to be parents themselves. I can see my beautiful wife at the foot of the bed. She reaches for me as I take my last breath.
I am dead now. I look at the shell of a body that was once mine and I am relieved to step out of it. I clasp my wife’s hand and pull her close to me. I can smell her perfume, I have longed for that perfume for so long.
My children are crying as they say their goodbyes to my shell.
My wife and I walk around the room, placing comforting hands on our children’s shoulders, unbeknownst to them.
One by one, their tears subside. They know that I am at peace.
They will not grieve my broken shell, they will celebrate the soul that lives on in each of them. The soul that lives on in each of their children in turn.
They have displayed my shell for the family to say their goodbyes. They gather around it and speak of me in ways that make me happy.
They say they are glad of how I left. They speak of how peaceful an end it was to such a hard road of suffering. I am touched by their affections.
I watch how one by one, family members approach my shell and place goodbye kisses upon it. It seems strange to me that I can feel each kiss. It is strange, but I am comforted.
I try my best to catch each tear that falls.
I place a kiss on the forehead of each of my distraught grandkids. I have to laugh as the youngest, ignorant to the grief that surrounds him, pulls the table-cloth down destroying the assortment of foods.
I am relieved that there is laughter. I am happy there is laughter.
I am dead now, but I am more alive than I have been since the disease took over.
I take one last look at my family, placing an arm around my wife. We watch the generations laugh, dance and comfort one another.
This is the legacy that we leave.
I am ready to say goodbye now. I am ready to be free.