Death was slowly reaching out his shaky fingers toward my Great Uncle Paul.
This dear man, a silent example of charity, was nearing the end of his year-long, bed-ridden battle with a degenerative nerve disease in his home—a home he built with his own hands for his barely budding family ages earlier. His body was feeble, and his words were scarce. In fact, he would say maybe three or four sentences a day.
I tried to visit him and his sweet wife, Della Mae, as often as I could—always finding myself a better person when I left for just being around their fairytale-like love (some people just have that effect on others, I guess).
When I stopped by one day, almost a week before he passed away, I had a life-changing experience (completely unexpected, as most are).
Della Mae was busily tiding up the living room around Paul’s bed. Unassumingly, quietly, and deliberately, Paul raised his gentle hand a few inches from the sheets where it lay.
“Della Mae . . .” It was too quiet; she didn’t hear. He rattled out a raspy cough. “Della Mae . . .”
She turned and rushed to his side, eager to accomplish any need of her beloved spouse.
“Yes, Paul?” she cheerfully asked.
I assumed he wanted something to eat, or some medicine, or just have his pillow rearranged.
But what he said surprised me. And his words forever changed me.
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