"It's time to say goodbye" the older man said to the children standing around him. This was the time in which they all knew was coming, but still could never truly prepare for.
"Help me up son" he said to the athletically built man standing beside him. The strong shoulders of his son were now rounded, his square jaw trembling, and tears pooling in his eyes. Once known for his strength, at this time that strength had escaped him. As he reached down to pickup his father he began to remember times of his childhood. This now frail man close to his 90s appears so small in comparison to his memories.
He remembered when his father would pick him up and swing him around. He remembered the smile on his face. He remembered how it made him feel to simply hear his father call him "son". "Son" said his father bringing him back to the present, "Its time".
David lifted his father and held him in his arms. Funny how time has a way of changing the order in life. The man who once lifted him is now being lifted.
As David walked down the hallway followed by other family members and friends, they entered the room that contained the bed that once belonged to his mom and dad. For some time now, this very bed has belonged solely to his mom.
"Leslie" Davids dad spoke "Leslie its Ronnie" his voice spoke shakily. "Can you open your eyes for me darling." Leslie laid within the bed in a weakened state, yet by hearing the voice of her husband of 70 plus years she manage to smile. Her eyes flickered trying to find the strength to open. She felt the hand of the man she has loved all her life upon hers. His fingers surrounding hers.
"It won't be long now" said the nurse standing by the bedside, while placing her hand upon Davids shoulders. David nodded in acceptance while the tears rolled down his face.
"Mom, Its David. I love you." The smiling lips moved without making a sound, but they knew she was saying "I love you too". "Its ok Leslie" said Ronnie. "You can rest now. Go home. I will see you soon." Ronnie's hand was shaking as he spoke to his lasting love. He knew he had to let her know that it is ok to let go, but still maybe even selfishly, he wanted her to stay with him. No matter her state, just stay with him.
The room fell quite. There was a chill that seemed to just appear. The family watched as Leslie's chest labored to inflate and fall, to then inflate and fall again. The breaths became longer in separation. Still Leslie's eyes flickered as if still attempting to open them. With Davids help, his father lowered his head and kissed the forehead of this woman he has been blessed to call his wife. As his lips pulled away they were quickly replaced by the tears falling from his eyes. Leslie opened her eyes, seeing the elderly man who use to be the strong man she met many years ago. At this moment she saw who they use to be, young, vibrant, in love. "I love you to darling." she spoke. And with that, her chest rose and fell no longer.
Loud sobbing could be heard throughout the room. Even the nurse who has seen many die, wept.
"Put me with her" spoke Ronnie is a soft and broken voice "I need to hold her...one last time." His son David heard him, but did not think that he had the strength to help his father because at this very moment he was broken, weak, powerless.
Ronnie, to the amazement of all, lowered the railing to the bed, pulled himself upon the bed, pulled back the covers, to then slide under them. As the covers fell upon his body, he moved ever so closely to his love and laid his head upon her shoulder. "One last time" he spoke, kissing her cheek.
He laid there for what some would deem almost an entirety, but to him it was only a matter of seconds because he yearned to have eternity with her. Around the room hands embraced and eyes met, no words being spoken, but all being blessed to see this true love.
"You are home now darling. It won't be long and we will be home together." Ronnie looked up to the family surrounding the bed "It hurts" he said between his sobs "It hurts".
No one needed to say a word. What could be said? Ronnie continued, "Over 70 years. 70 years I have loved this woman and I am willing to love her 700 more." He began sobbing deeply as David wrapped his arms around his father and his mother. Together father and son did something they had never done before. They cried together.
After several moments had past and endless tears had fallen. Ronnie looked up at his son and said "Its time." David felt that his father was saying much more than expressing it is time to unlock his embrace upon his bride. David accepted in his soul what his father meant.
He nodded and spoke "Go home dad. Go home." And with that, Ronnie closed is eyes and his chest rose and fell not longer. Now Ronnie and Leslie were dancing again together, this time for eternity.