It was a good day, he thought, as the light faded to darkness around him. But the darkness lasted only a second before it was replaced by the most brilliant white light he’d ever seen.
The light was warm on his face as he stepped into the brightness. He no longer felt the pain in his hip nor did he struggle to catch his breath as he had when we had gotten out of bed that morning. He was a young man again with youth and vigor he hadn’t known for forty years… no, even longer. The light he passed through had passed through him too and with it took away his pain and all the hardship his old bones had suffered during his many years.
He still couldn’t see; the light was much too bright. But, he started to hear the warm, welcoming voices of his past. The first one he recognized was that of his grandfather. He’d passed on when he was just a boy, already an old man by the time he’d come into the world. But their bond was strong, and he mourned his loss even now. But it wasn’t his grandfather that came into view as he continued moving through the light; at least not the old man he’d known in his youth. Instead he recognized the warm smile of his grandfather on a much younger face. A youthful, strong countenance that hadn’t seen the hardship and lean years of the depression stood before him. His grandfather took his hand and guided him further into the light.
Next he heard the gentle laugh of good ol’ Mikey Johnson. Mikey had been his best friend growing up. Oh, the adventures they’d had riding their bikes around the neighborhood they’d grown up in. Mikey hadn’t made it back from the war so many years ago, but there he stood with outstretched arms. It’d been so long. Mikey had been the one to introduce him to his Mary just days before he left to go fight the war to end all wars. He’d never had a chance to thank him until now.
As he stepped away from Mikey, he felt a tug on his leg…no, it couldn’t be! At his feet was Chief, the old mutt he’d gotten for his kids when they were still young. Chief was gotten for them, of course, but he’d quickly become the best friend and companion he’d ever have, outside of his Mary. He’d cried like a baby the day they had to put ol’ Chief down. He’d grown old and sick. He had been in so much pain the last time he’d seen his old friend. But here he was now with his tail wagging and just as full of love as he’d ever been. He wasn’t old anymore either; together, with a spring in their step, they moved further into the brightness.
As he continued on, he recognized old teachers, business partners, and friends he’d met and lost track of through the years. There were members of his family, too. Some had even passed on long before he ever saw the light of the world. But his soul recognized them and know who they were, and he embraced them.
The light was starting to fade now and the world around him was becoming clear. Green hills and rolling fields surrounded him. He gazed in amazement; he’d never seen anything so beautiful. Then, he realized he had. This was the little farm he and Mary had settled down on when they were first married so many years ago. Though they sold it when his job required him to move into the city, this was his favorite place. The sun was warm on his skin; it was a breezy spring day. But, despite the light's embrace, he felt a pain in his stomach… the pain of loss. Something wasn’t right. He felt so alone.
Then, he felt it. The warmth of a lifetime of love entangled his body and embraced him. He heard the voice he’d longed to hear for so many lonely years. Her heard her… his Mary. She’d passed before him; the cancer had taken her in her fifties and with her it had taken his heart. He turned to face the voice he’d loved and lived for all those years to see not the disease ravaged body of the victim of a life too short, but the beautiful, healthy young girl he’d held in his arms on that little farm so many years ago. They embraced tightly, so tightly they seemed to merge into one. Finally, they were reunited. It was the most powerful emotion he had ever felt. He was home now. His pain, like his life before, was forgotten as he took his place by her side.
It was a good day.