Chapter 1–The Next Plain

I wrote this to try and deal with my own mothers death. Some the things in it reflect some the thing my mom believed and requested take place after her passing.

The setting is my bedroom. The décor was picked out by my late wife Mary. My son Morgan is sitting in one chair and my doctor, Dr. McCallum, is in the another. My lungs are failing and I’m dying. I just don’t believe death is the end. I want to find out what’s on the other side. I just told Morgan of my plans and he is none too pleased. Well, I really don’t care. I just don’t believe death is the end.

“Are you nuts? Father McNulty will have a fit if he heard this hair brained scheme of yours”

My son Morgan is not the most receptive person in the world to new ideas. At the bank, his place of work, he is known as “The Old Man” for his rigid and somewhat archaic attitudes. Right now, he is the chief mortgage officer who hopes to become president of the bank one day. Right now he’s seated in a chair near my bedside and we’re chatting. He has this rather annoying habit of pinching the top of his nose when he speaks which only serves to make him appear far older than he is. At 33 Morgan has ascended the corporate ladder at a far greater speed then I could have imagined. I am very proud of him. I am also concerned he will grow old and feeble at a far greater speed than I had.

“I really don’t care what Father McNulty does or says. The concepts of heaven and hell are nothing but concepts perpetuated by the church and dogma used to scare the socks off little children. You know that I don’t believe in either of those places. You also know that I don’t believe death to be the end of our life. I want to find out what happens next. I know I’m dying. Dr McCallum has confirmed that. In a couple of weeks I’ll slip into a coma and in a short while  I’ll be dead. -”

Morgan decided to interrupt me. Something he knows bothers me greatly. When I’m talking I like to finish what I’m saying. With these infernal breathing problems I have to pick my words very carefully. Morgan sat forward in the chair. Looking frustrated he ran his fingers through his hair. He pointed at Dr. McCallum who was seated in another chair content to let him drone on.

“You don’t know that for sure dad. You don’t know for sure what’s going to happen. Doc McCallum could be wrong. Maybe we should get a second-”. This time Dr. McCallum interrupted Morgan. Dr. McCallum and I had being friends for almost fifty years. In that time I had learned he rarely spoke while seated and at this point in his life took some time getting to a standing position.

“I don’t wish to burst your bubble Morgan but your father is suffering from an extreme lack of oxygen in the blood. And the timeline of his degeneration and demise is almost word for word what I told your father. Concerning what you were about to say you would be wasting your time, money and what little time your father has left getting a second opinion. Any first year medical student would give you the same diagnosis. As for calling me “Doc” I have asked you time and again not to call me that. I am a doctor of medicine. I have been your doctor for thirty-three years. However, if you persist in calling me that particular appellation you may have to start looking for a new doctor. I worked very hard to become a doctor and I will not stand for anybody belittling that achievement. Do we understand each other?”

Morgan was not in a mood to be talked down to, but he had to understand his particular brand of humour did not tickle every bodies funny bone. Dr. McCallum looked in on me everyday. During that time I wrote my wishes for my funeral and I am very glad I did. Two weeks later my lungs gave up the ghost and shortly afterward I became one – if they exist.

***

What happened next might best be described as an out of body experience. I remember floating near the ceiling. I could see the entire bedroom. Morgan was there as was Dr. McCallum and a few relatives. My cousin William was one I could have gone without seeing. He had only one interest in life and that was the accumulation of wealth. His obsession ruined his marriage and drove most of his friends away. He was a rather lonely person with no one to share his life. But that was his by own doing and he gave no indication of changing his ways. When William came near the bed I fully expected him to take the pennies from my eyes. William was on one side of the bed, my body was on the bed in the middle, and Morgan stood like a guard dog on the other side of the bed opposite William. He knew of my dislike for William and why I disliked him so. I don’t know why Morgan informed William I had died. Maybe it was Mary. William and I competed fiercely for Mary’s affections. Near the end of her life Mary confided to me that it was Williams love of money that killed all romantic feeling between him and Mary. William loved money more than he did Mary. When anybody spoke it was always in hushed tones.

Shortly before I shuffled off this mortal coil Morgan and Dr. McCallum finally put the gloves on.

“Is the old boy dead yet?”

My son Morgan, had just entered my bedroom to check on my mortality. Dr. McCallum, a man who always wore a three piece suit and wire frame glasses, a man who always tucked them into his vest pocket when he wasn’t wearing them, and a man who I think was born with white hair, finally reached his breaking point and lost his temper.

He turned and faced Morgan while cleaning his glasses.

“Morgan, only you could so tactless. The man you so callously called “the old boy”, a man who has been my friend for almost sixty years, a man who is your father is dying and there’s not a blessed thing I can do about it. You caused me to break a vow I made to myself when I graduated from medical school and that was to never loose my temper in front of a patient. Out of plain simple curiosity why are you so anxious for your father to be dead?”

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