The old man slowly and painfully eased himself into the chair in front of his computer desk. It seemed each time he repeated this, it was more painful than the last time.
More than three score and ten years had passed and the Autumn of Life was approaching for him. Life had not been physically kind to him. Early childhood diseases had tried to shorten his life, but each time he had fought valiantly and overcome them. Scarlet fever, a brush with Diphtheria, and what doctors felt might have been a slight case of Typhoid fever. Each challenged him and each was defeated. Common childhood illnesses, Measles, Chicken Pox, and Mumps were dispatched with time and wonderful care by his mother.
He did not know then that genetics would someday intervene and bring him the years of struggles with Heart Disease. A first heart attack at age 49, another at 50 and then at age 56, a life threatening surgical procedure lasting more than 11 hours as a 6 way bypass was performed. Twice during the operation he was declared “clinically dead” as the monitors “flatlined”, but by the skillful and determined efforts of the surgeons, the miracles of medical science, and the hand of God; his life was spared. Months of painful recovery led to a resumption of daily activities on a somewhat reduced scale. Other interventions during the ensuing years. Implantation of stents, a highly sophisticated AICD pacemaker (for the trivia minded.......a bi-ventricular automatic implantable cardiac defibrillator) was implanted. Routine tests, some invasive, others simply overall checkups, which were conducted with regularity.
He sometimes wondered what it would have been like to not have had the life threatening events in his lifetime but......................
With a sad smile he turned the computer on and reached for the keyboard to start typing. It was like an eternity before his bent arthritic fingers could slowly begin pecking away, one key at a time to write his letter.
As he reminisced, he was flooded with the uncountable warm and wonderful memories which had been such a pervasive part of his life.............
Suddenly, it was as though he had been given a new body. The wonderful recollections of his lengthy lifetime seemed to wash away any sign of fatigue and pain. Filled with a new energy, his fingers literally seemed to have a life of their own as they flew over the keys. He seemed to have become almost another person from the one who had only moments before struggled to sit down at the keyboard.
It was with a sense of wonderment that he remembered the lifetime of friends acquired and cherished. Friends who had remained so throughout their personal struggles, and his; who had shared with him their prayers and well wishes each time they talked. The joyous times celebrated as his friends reached milestones in their lives. New additions to their families. Grandchildren........... job promotions, new homes, travel adventures shared and talked about.
Now a new understanding of his life began to unfold. It became crystal clear to him that indeed, he had been so blessed with a wonderful lifetime of family, friends and acquaintances as to be almost overwhelming in the joy it brought to him. Tears welled up in his eyes and blurred the letters on the keyboard and the computer screen before him.
He truly has had a glorious and wonderful life. A life to be grateful for and a future suddenly to be looked forward to. His pain had subsided and was replaced with a warm gratitude for all he had lived through and for all his friends.
Somehow, I am no longer the old man sitting at the keyboard.
Thank you for being one of those friends. I shall cherish your friendship throughout the rest of my life.
Enough rambling for now...........May God bless you and your family.
Jerry aka ijitterbug