Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shattered Glass

The night before Dad died I was looking for his Bible.  I was surprised that it wasn't on the back of the toilet, because that is where I had last seen it.  I knew it wouldn't be far, so I looked on his desk.  When it wasn't there, I opened the cupboard door above his desk and saw it sitting right in front.  I'm only 5'1" tall, which is often a problem for reaching things from cupboards.  So until three years ago when I fell down a flight of stairs and had a metal plate put in my ankle, I was in the habit of climbing like a monkey.

It seemed so easy.  I'd done this kind of stuff thousands of times. Without giving it a second thought (yeah, I know, that's always my problem), I pulled out the chair, stood on it, and leaned my right knee on the desk as I reached for the Bible in the cupboard. Glass shattered under my knee.  I don't know why it never occurred to me that the glass surface on the desk would break. Dad always kept a flat glass top on his desk so that he could put pictures and his favorite quotations underneath.  It was my "Oh Crap" moment of a very long day.

The next morning, the decision was made to remove the breathing tubes, discontinue all medication (other than for pain, if needed), and say our goodbyes.  We all met at the hospital.  Laughter has always been part of any family gathering, and this was a moment that definitely needed an ice breaker and a little laughter.  I'm not exactly sure who said what, but somehow it came out that I'd broken the glass on Dad's desk, and someone said, "I told Laurie you'd be mad!"  Dad laughed.  We all laughed, including Dad's nurse.  Then we went about the business of letting my Dad pass through the veil.  My sister, Colleen, read Dad's favorite Bible scriptures to him, and I read his favorite Book of Mormon scriptures to him -- or it could have been in reverse, I'm not sure. At any rate, we traded back and forth.  Dad listened to us read for a long time, and seemed to receive comfort from the scriptures.

I don't know why I went looking for his Bible that night, but I'm glad I did.  I've thought about that shattered glass many times over the last 26 years.  As much as I regretted breaking it at the time, I think it was supposed to break that night.  We needed something to laugh about, and the glass provided it (at my expense, of course).  I sure hope there is laughter on the other side of the veil.  If not, the Janes family is in an awful lot of trouble!  Whatever will we do with ourselves!

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