Aaron knew that it was only a matter of hours now. He couldn't open his eyes as he had the previous day. Then he had seen his family gathered at the foot of the bed. Odd, he had thought, how they appeared ghostly, slightly detached from the limbo in which he now found himself. Yet he was not frightened. Limbo, it turned out, was a peaceful world, away from the turmoil of life; there was space to think and to prepare.
He knew there were people in the room now even if he couldn't see them. It was his son and his son's partner. He could hear them talking solemnly and he longed to tell them it was all good. But they spoke of Aaron's wife who had to return home to sleep after spending two days and nights at her husband's bedside. They talked in hushed tones of this and that. Sometimes a nurse would enter the room to check something and that broke the solemnity briefly as she offered tea or something to read.
Aaron's thoughts were clear, no longer did they wander or become cloudy as they had for some years before this last heart attack. He had been slowly losing himself to dementia for some years, but now he was able to see with his mind's eye and it had started to reveal some kind of truth that he had forgotten since childhood. It seemed once again that anything was possible. And he had started to glimpse other worlds. Just at the very edge of his senses, he had felt a surge of elation, a fleeting feeling of pure joy. And yet some hours before that he had dreamed deeply of elves and imps all trying to pull at his bed covers.
All of this and yet he could not open his eyes.
It proved to him that much of what he used to think of as reality was merely a tiny piece of the truth. Now that he was dying, he was feeling and seeing more than he had ever imagined in life.
For the past few hours, he had thought about his parents. Many years earlier he had sat where his son was, in a hard hospital chair as each of them had passed away within months of one another and he remembered vowing never to end up in such a place when it was his time to go. Such is life. Sometimes decisions are made for us.
Now all was quiet. Aaron felt his son suddenly touch his hand. He wanted so much to open his eyes and say goodbye. Oh, just to tell his son 'I love you'. He never had. Now he wondered why that was.
He felt as though he was crying and then he realised that indeed he was. His son wiped a tear from Aaron's cheek. 'Dad? Can you hear me?' Aaron wanted to reply but couldn't. He was too far away.
A light flashed an electric blue-green light. Aaron could hear voices but this time, they were all around him, not in the little room. He couldn't see anything except more flashes of colour. All around him in every direction. The voices grew louder. He could feel his body shaking. In the far distance, he heard his son calling for help.
Then, there right in front of him, suddenly was his father.
With one last deep gasp, he reached out and touched his father's hand. As he did so, everything he had ever wondered became clear.