My father passed last night.
The end was mercifully quick and painless.
A pulmonary embolism. His breathing faltered and his blood pressure plummeted. Five minutes after being taken off his resuscitator in the ER, he slipped away - just a little after 2:30 am.
My mother and my brother were with him. Their pastor was holding his hand and offering him words of comfort.
Numbness. Efficiency. There was little time for anything else that took place over a few brief phone calls.
Afterwards, as I tried to sleep, my mind was whirling. Sleep would not come.
As I lay there in the near pitch blackness, curtains drawn against the streetlights, I found myself staring at the where the ceiling fan would be, just over the bed.
In the darkness, I felt movement. A vague swirling of shapes in various shades of black seemed to manifest themselves around the spot.
Then a light - dim at first - a pale amethyst that seemed to alternately brighten and fade, swirling into and around the black shapes.
Then green - a pale emerald that seemed to have more definition than the amethyst hues.
The colors slowly mingled and merged with the blackness. I felt that I could suddenly see through the colored forms - like a window to lavender and green skies and landscapes. Inside those shapes, other forms coalesced and moved, adding dimension to what I was seeing.
Purposely, I averted my eyes to other spots in the darkened room, thinking this must be a trick of the eyes. I looked at the drapes - firmly drawn. No light from outside penetrated the room.
I saw nothing - felt nothing. But when I returned my eyes to the swirling mass above the bed, it was still there. No trick of the light, no optical illusion.
Shapes and forms seen through the windows appeared sharper, more in focus - yet nothing but vague cloud shapes were recognizable.
I reached out my hand - nothing. No warmth, no chill - no vibration emanated from the cloud. The shapes just continued to swirl slowly, noiselessly.
Shapes began to creep in to the edges of these colored windows, almost familiar but lacking definition.
I wondered why there was no feeling - no sense of joy or dread.
I simply whispered "I love you" and saluted the place with a grin. Dad hated sentiment - but he loved a wry smile.
As slowly as they came, the colored lights dimmed. The shapes returned to a uniform shade of black.
And then the blackness was still.
And for me - that was enough.
Until we meet again, Dad.