An old man was dying on the side of a road. He wasn’t injured or hurt. It was just his time. His maker had called his name and he obediently replied. His desire was to get to some body of water, a lake or a sea, but his broken body would not cooperate.
So there he was collapsed, mid journey, on the side of a busy highway, by a river of cars.
He lay waiting for his final moment amidst the dirt and refuse of the highway. Amidst the discarded items that had been heaved out of car windows, the smog and pollution that made it hard to breathe. But it all didn’t matter to him because during most of his life he, had been discarded.
It was familiar.
His name was Oscar and his family came from a place called Bellorussia, A place that no longer goes by that name nor uses the old ways. His family had been thrown out of the old country for their religious beliefs, as was common in that world, as is common in this world.
Oscar had the misfortune of having a stroke at a very young age in the old country, since medicine was not as readily accessible then, it had left him partially paralyzed on one side of his body. With all of that, Oscar still had a family and Oscar still had a job. Everyday Oscar would get up, hobble down the street and take the train to work. He would never complain, simply take his time to get where he was going.
His family would always look down on him with pity as If to say he was less of a man then the rest of the world. But they would never offer to help, just sit back and watch in silence and disdain. Which was just fine for Oscar because he didn’t want any help. He preferred independence.
Over the years, Oscar proudly raised his children with his wife as best as they could. Giving them all educations and choices he did not have during his youth. His wife who loved him dearly was a bit of a shrew, would nag Oscar about random things till the day she died. On that day, Oscar broke down in tears that had waited a lifetime to be shed.
When his creator had called to him for his final journey, Oscar decided that he wanted to die near water. His old country was surrounded by land and he found that just sitting by a body of water gave him joy to no end. So he left the nursing home and began his journey, one step at a time until he could walk no more.
As the cars drove by they would see and old man, disheveled in appearance, lying in filth. They would roll down their windows and yell to him.
“Hey, you crazy old fool, go home. Sleep somewhere else.” They would then pelt him with more garbage like it was a game to hit the target while they were moving.
It didn’t really bother the old man because he didn’t notice them. He wasn’t intent on his surroundings, but on what he was seeing.
By this time, Oscar had one foot in this world and one foot in the next and the realities of his existence were beginning to blur. He perceived that highway as a river, the sound of the cars became the soothing motion of the water around a beautiful bend in the river. It was calm and serene. He was happy. He could even begin to smell the trees around the river and was glad for it. This is where he wanted to die. As he felt his body get lighter and lighter he began to hear music coming from around the river bend. He struggled to see it but was unable to get up.
It was an odd sort of music, not what he would expect to hear in this place. It was a jubilant, cacophonous noise, almost party like.
Not being able to get up he resigned to lay there and listen. Listen and wait.
A car pulled over to the side of the road and a woman got out, She saw Oscar lying there in the gully and asked him.
“ Mr. are you alright?”
But Oscar couldn’t hear her because the band was too loud.
She asked again, this time a bit louder.
“Mr. you OK?”
Oscar turned his attention and perceived this being. Light emanated for all around her and it seemed to him she had wings.
Oscar asked the women, “Are you an angel?”
To the woman, Oscar was mumbling incoherently, but she continued anyway. “Look Mr. it’s dark out side and my battery lights won’t last too long. Do you want me to help you up? Should I call for an ambulance?”
“Oscar looked up at this angel and said, “ Are you coming to take me home? Are we going to see my wife, my parents? Are we going to see god?”
The woman responded to Oscar’s plea. “Mr. You seem in pretty bad shape, so I’m going to call an ambulance for you, but I’ll sit here until they come.”
And with that she took his hand and heard the band playing. Lucinda knew instinctively what was occurring and said to Oscar. “The band, it’s for you. It’s a joyous sound welcoming you home. The heavens are happy that you are here.”
Oscar felt elated. He never knew the touch of an angel let alone the one that would usher him in to heaven, what could he have done to deserve such and honor.
“It won’t be long now, I can see them coming for you” the angel said.
Lucinda hearing the ambulance’s siren coming from a distance began to wave her hand.
Oscar began to wave his hand too. Out from around the bend came his family, long gone from one world but happy and free in this. His father and grandfather were there, his cousin Myrna was there as well. More exciting was Kelev, his dog when he was a child, standing next to his father.
The EMT’s came and they picked up Oscar on a litter and placed him in the ambulance and began to drive off. Oscar felt the motion of the water as he was picked up by more angels and placed on a boat, that drifted down to the river bend. He could see the band that was playing, he could see the party that was going on in his honor and he could see his beloved wife of forty years and it made him cry. Lucinda, the angel who accompanied him to next world, whispered is his ear, “you’re home”.