It is the next evening now. The wheel turns. Once more I was asleep in preparation for going to work the night shift. Once more I awakened suddenly in the dark bedroom with a nameless sense of anticipation, expecting Something to happen. Out in the great room the phone rang. I got up. Mrs RRR saw me come out of the bedroom. "No, he's awake... here he is..." and she handed me the phone.
My brother this time. The Littlest Ranger's grandfather. We talk. The end is in sight now. The tiny tyke is down to only brain stem function. No more liver function, no bowel, no kidney. It's all almost over. Still the heart tries valiantly to beat. Still the respirator blows air in, stops and gravity pushes it out. That is all. The options are down to almost none. I've already said my piece. My brother and I reminisce gently of the loss of our mother. I tell him some deeply personal memories of patients that have eased past the veil as I cared for them. I think of all those affected.
The child's mother, grandmother, sister, aunties, cousins... all the women who long to hold him and caress him and cherish him and help him grow up feeling safe and loved. The father, grandfathers, great grandfathers who would raise him up to be a man, to stand tall before his God, to ride, rope, shoot straight and tell the truth. Even his great uncle, me, who would teach him to spot the best route through a rapids, to pick a camp sight, start a fire, read the signs of the woods. All of us wait. On the other side of the veil... the Littlest Ranger's Lord waits also, for him to be welcomed to the arms that WILL hold him.
And one more prayer.... "Thank you God, for this tiny life that has touched ours. Thank you for the lessons he is teaching us about You and ourselves. Help everyone not to hurt. Please comfort his mommy and daddy, and all of us. God bless us... every one."