During Your Final Hour, Who Are You Going to Hold On For?

She clenched her sweaty fists so tightly that she left wrinkle imprints on the sheets. She had been fighting since the night before, but with such sternness she wouldn’t show any signs of weakness. The perspiration streaks down her face were evidence of having fought through a world of struggle; in fact, it was a fight to survive. She began to feel the coolness and the quietness of the room. It was soothing for a person in her state; perhaps, it was the calmness before and after a devastating storm. Having been through a lot in a single night, she had lost her ability to hear, for all she could hear was the deafening pounding of her heart.

The pain subsided and peace started floating in the room, and it was more than contagious. She started to regain her ability to hear. She glared around the room and saw so many familiar faces: her friends, relatives, and her own family. Her eyes circled the room and kept on circling, “For what?” she wondered. Her heart was telling her that something was amiss. She tried for a couple of minutes and couldn’t figure it out. “Figure out what?” She was getting frustrated, so she let it go and decided to look at the familiar faces who were always by her side at her critical moments. She noticed the blatant concern on everybody’s faces-the sadness and the fear were written undeniably; however, she was strong-willed, contended.

It had been several minutes since her last attack, but now it was coming back. Her gaunt body was proof to everyone that if she were to be faced with another attack, it would be the end for her. We all knew that whatever energy she’d had in reserve to fight the night before had all been diminished. The pain was unkind and invasive. It went straight to her heart, trying to wring the life out of her. “Here goes,” she thought as the pain took over. Her heart pounded, her hearing was lost, and her body shivered as she shut her eyes tightly and reached up to where her heart lay and made a fist over it with her right hand, while, with her other hand, she grasped at her nightgown with fierceness of desperation.

The door handle jiggled, turned, and then all of a sudden, it was aggressively flung open to show the younger sister gasping and shouting, “I am here; I made it.” The sickly older sister on the bed opened her eyes, looked at her sister, and whispered, “Thank you.” Then, she welcomed the inevitable-death.

I was stunned to have witnessed such a display of love between my grandmother and her younger sister: a love that will always haunt me. Would someone’s presence really make one hang on until the very last breath? Is perseverance perhaps a means of saying, “Thank you for sharing a life with me?” Or is it maybe that it is another way of saying, “I will always love you?”

In the end, we all have our own critical moments, moments that could include a child being born, a wedding, a sporting event, or even a date. And these are important moments-memorable ones-that we experience while living out our lives. These are moments that make life a little more exciting, even meaningful. However, we tend to neglect or belittle the importance of our presence during the critical moment. Unlike a wedding that could be missed because a friend or family member cannot get a day off of work, our last moment is the critical one, and I am not talking about just any moments. I am talking about the one-the everlasting one-that should not be missed.

What I saw was that critical moment, the very last significant breath, the moment of reckoning where we discover what we value most in life-that very last wish: a look, a word, or just a gesture. It is the time to express the final farewell whether it be full of longing, gratification, or without remorse; whichever it may be, I pray that we all have that opportunity, the final fulfilling moment, and actually rest in peace.

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