Things I Learned from R. B. … September 13th, 2020

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4524)

Episode 32

After the party, the hospice asked us to stay away for a couple of days, to give R. B. a chance to recuperate, rest and regain some normalcy.

This was fine with me. Matter of fact, I think it was a full four days before I returned.

I caught him on a bad day.

He was feeling just sick enough to be upset and just unaware enough to not be able to respond to anyone.

It was very easy to forgive him—after all, he was dying.

The nurses and staff were patient and gentle. I don’t know where they mustered the courage to do that, but it gives me great hope for the human race when I realize there are actually people who will perform that function for a little more than minimum wage.

R. B. was so rattled and uncertain of himself that I felt it would be better to come back the next day and hopefully have a more fruitful conversation.

So I left and after I did, I related to my two sons what had happened. They, being who they are, made a decision to go and see R. B. that afternoon when, it turned out, he was more spry and aware.

They were also the last two people to see him alive.

When I came the next morning, R. B. had slipped into a coma. His heart was racing, his face was white, and perspiration was pouring off his brow. It appeared he was moments from dying.

Even though I supposedly had a good education and understood this to be an unavoidable part of his journey, I still found myself in disbelief—that this fifty-five-year-old man was leaving us.

It wasn’t sentimental—it was an eerie qualm

I stayed about an hour, watching the twitchings and observing nurses coming in and out, telling me that I should feel free to leave because it could be many hours, if not days.

Yet I had led myself to believe that I wanted to be there at the exact moment he passed on. But he wouldn’t know. Nor would the nurses or the doctor.

I said my last little speech right into his ear. “Thank you, R. B., for giving us experiences with you. I will keep on keeping you alive.”

I turned on my heel and walked away.

Later on that afternoon, R. B.’s brother, Johnny, called me and told me that his brother had passed on.

We made plans for a funeral the next day.

I sought greater depth of feeling—both from myself and those around me.

Maybe it was the fact that it was inevitable–that we knew it was coming.

Maybe it was the fact that many of us didn’t know R. B. as well as we thought we did.

Maybe it was because R. B. never took the time to get to know us.

Whatever the justification, I was not satisfied.

I wanted it to be more meaningful.

I determined to make sure the funeral was special.

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