“As the Angels Attend”
A Short Story
I was given a few moments of clarity from the heavens. It had been at least 2 years since I’d had any.
I knew there were some who visited me, and even more, some of them came to see me almost every day.
I knew they were there, but during my days of unclarity, I couldn’t get my mind to verbalize my thoughts and acknowledge their kindness.
In the moments of clarity, the full force of reality hits you. In these moments I know that my wife of 50 years is no longer by my side. She passed away 2 years ago.
I know how sick I am from dementia and Parkinson’s and know that I hurt…continually. I look toward the heavens and ask why…why am I still here. No answers come.
I can see angels helping me each day. They take on human form. They feed me, clothe me, bathe me, help me into my bed each night, help me into my wheelchair during the day.
My children come to visit often. How I want to share with them of the hurt I feel from my negligence as their father when they were young. That they keep coming to see me and kiss my forehead with each visit I attribute to their loving mother. But I don’t have moments of clarity when they are here, enough to tell them how I love them and how proud of them I am.
In moments of clarity, I can see me watching my son playing basketball when he was a youngster, I can see my daughter dedicated to her art when was such a little child, I can see my wife attending to them when I was far off from them when I was a young husband and father, outside my true self, dedicated to nothing of them but only me.
I remember being mostly wretched from long ago, before I became so ill. I remember my shortcomings that I never addressed when I could. I remember regrets that I felt for a moment, before living more regrets that I regret now.
For whatever heavenly reason, I want to apologize to all of them, but the moments of clarity don’t come when others are present.
And so, I sit here alone for most of every day and night, in solitude, save for the angels who come to tend to me.
When there is no clarity in my mind, I am gruff with the angels. I cannot fathom why they bother about me.
I am beyond 80 years. There are few left living who remember me when I wasn’t as I am now, unable to walk, unable to feed myself, unable to do anything on my own other than sleep.
And yet, the angels still come to my side each day to attend.
In these moments of clarity that I’m so rarely afforded before I die, I ask the angels who attend me during these last days, to take my love and gratitude to each and every loved one I never acknowledged during my years here.
I ask the angels to somehow make amends to those whom I loved, overcoming, if possible, my callousness, my distance, my thoughtlessness – my lack of love.
I haven’t a clue if the angels will grant my request while I have a moment of clarity…and yet those spirits who hover over me each and every day – when they lay me to rest each night, where no other earthly entity is by my side other than these angels, as I lay my head upon the pillow, I have more than a clue that my message of love to all I never told, will be delivered.
Tonight’s musical offering
“Bethlehem Down” – King’s College Cambridge
Bethlehem Down is a choral anthem or carol composed in 1927 by Anglo-Welsh composer Peter Warlock (1894–1930) (the pseudonym of Philip Arnold Heseltine) and set to a poem written by journalist and poet Bruce Blunt (1899–1957). It is a popular anthem used in the Anglican church during the liturgical seasons of Christmastide and Epiphany. Warlock wrote it to finance an “immortal carouse” (a heavy bout of drinking) on Christmas Eve 1927 for himself and Blunt, who were experiencing financial difficulty. The pair submitted the carol to the Daily Telegraph‘s annual Christmas carol contest and won. – via wikipedia.org
“When He is King we will give Him a King’s gifts
Myrrh for its sweetness, and gold for a crown
Beautiful robes”, said the young girl to Joseph
Fair with her first-born on Bethlehem Down
Bethlehem Down is full of the starlight
Winds for the spices, and stars for the gold
Mary for sleep, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold
When He is King they will clothe Him in grave-sheets
Myrrh for embalming, and wood for a crown
He that lies now in the white arms of Mary
Sleeping so lightly on Bethlehem Down
Here He has peace and a short while for dreaming
Close-huddled oxen to keep him from cold
Mary for love, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold