Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Visit

June 30, 1989 was a long day of difficult decisions. Your mom was staying with you at night and I was there with you during the days. You had become comatose and we knew the end was coming soon. I don't remember the time when I walked into the house that Friday night. It must have been close to 11:00. My sister, Chris, watched Erin and C.J. while I was at the hospital with you. As soon as I walked in the door, Chris told me to call your dad.

I picked up the phone.

"Billy's gone. It happened about 20 minutes after you left the hospital."

My heart sank and yet I felt a sense of the relief I knew you sought. Finally, the suffering was over. I don't recall a lot of what happened after that. Chris tells me that I called Tom, our pastor, and he and Sue came over and we talked at the kitchen table. I must have called the funeral home because I do remember Chuck stopping at the house that night to tell me you were already being transported back home. I was exhausted, but I took some medication that the doctor had prescribed to help me sleep and went to bed.

That night, Chris stayed and slept on the couch. It was well after midnight when everything finally settled down. One of our neighbors had a motorcycle and for unexplained reasons, other than perhaps the folly of youth, he liked to rev the engine and run up and down the street in the midnight hours. That night was no exception and Chris couldn't sleep because of the noise. Finally, he stopped. As she lay there, she heard what sounded like the door opening.

I thought it was your cat at the door, but then I felt a strong presence as if someone was standing near me. I had the distinct feeling it was Bill. He stood there for a moment then I sensed him moving down the hallway toward the bedrooms. Early the next morning, Erin Leigh came out to the living room and wakened me.

"Aunt Chris! Aunt Chris! Did Dad come home last night?" she whispered expectantly.

"No. No, sweetheart. He didn't."

"Oh. I thought I heard him in the hallway."