Even if I’d never been a father, this picture would touch me. But because I have, it touches me even more deeply. It pierces my heart and salves it all at once. Why? Because even as I write this a beloved family member is in hospice struggling to release her own mortal coil, to be set free the way this precious little boy has been.
She’s much older, and has enjoyed a life of physical mobility this dear child never had. But now he’s the free one, far more free than she. Or any of us, for that matter. The roles are temporarily reversed. I love her, and her closest family members love her even more, so our tasks are twofold:
- First, to be grateful for her and her time with us, and to accept it as enough; for some that’s the most difficult part.
- Second, to learn from her passing. Because the people we love can teach us how to live, but they can also teach us how to die, if we let them. And when they do…
They teach us to be free.