Jason floated in a gossamer haze, a yellow slicker covering his battered body, hanging over the edge of a cliff that was vaguely familiar as the same precipice where his Grandpa Stan had met with tragedy. Unseen hands were holding him, preventing him from going over the edge. He felt Gramps presence as he drifted further away from the accident scene toward a brilliant light.
Jason heard a poignant and sweet melody lifting his soul, filling him with joy. The calming flow of harp strings lulled him to a peace he had never known. The gentle music of keyboards soothed him like balm on a burn. The powerful blare of brass horns strengthened him with faith and purpose. He felt as light as the golden glow surrounding him, warming him, centering him, freeing him. He felt the enfolding embrace of a hug healing him and the whisper of love so pure his eyes welled with gratuitous tears.
“You’re early me boy,” boomed a voice he had not heard for ten long years.
Jason was nine when he lost his grandfather and he remembered the story his mother told him. A bit of a rebel, Gramps was speeding down a mountain road on his racing yellow Triumph Sprint when he hit a patch of black ice just as he leaned in to a curve. Dropping the bike in a road-burning spark-flying skid, he tumbled off the highway onto rocks 25 feet below the switchback.
“Well who else, son? As good as it is to see you; it is not yet time for you to join us.”
The old man’s face softened, reaching out to ruffle blond curls Jason knew he got from his grandfather. Resolve tightened Gramps face as he gripped Jason by the shoulders, pleading for him to be vigilant, not relax in the tranquility around him. “I have it on good authority you need to go back.”
With tear-filled eyes, Jason embraced his grandfather. “I miss you every day Gramps. I fixed up your old Triumph so it’s good as new. Repainted it that eye-catching yellow you loved. I even take it out on occasion.”
Stepping back, Gramps stared deeply in to Jason’s eyes. “I’ve seen you out on the bike JJ taking foolish chances. My own reckless abandon brought me here when I thought I could do anything; believed I would live forever. Take the time to enjoy your life; don’t rush to get to the next place, take a scenic route, and detour to magical and beautiful places. Enjoy the journey. The road of life will end soon enough.”
Gramps looked away as if hearing someone call to him. “Your grandmother says hello and she loves you. She will see you much later. Your mother’s heart will break if you leave her now. You have the strength and passion to pull through.”
“I love you Gramps.”
“Love you too, son. Off you go now.”
Muffled voices penetrated the fog of Jason’s mind. A ghostly thread lingered to the vision of his grandfather. He felt a breeze ruffle the slicker placed over him. As the dream receded, the pain intensified and he groaned, coming to in a haze of agony and confusion. The last thing he remembered was yellow flashing caution lights and a detour sign. His body burned; he felt dizzy and disoriented. Head pounding with every heartbeat, he tried to move.
“This one’s alive!” someone shouted gently removing the jacket from his face. An angel, haloed with golden light, smile radiating with compassion, looked down at him.
“Can you hear me?” A penlight shown in his eyes, leaving pulsing yellow dots dancing on his retina, as the angel checked for his pulse. She touched him gently in several areas asking if it hurt. Jason tried to answer her but all he got was a moan, laced with the excruciating pain coursing through his body.
The paramedic turned to her partner, “His jaw and clavicle are broken, lacerations to his body, possibly a concussion and additional fractures. Pulse rapid but steady. Call the chopper. Let’s get him fitted with a collar and on the board. He needs to get to the hospital immediately.”
Jason was barely conscious as the paramedics loaded him on the Life-Flight helicopter. He knew he was badly hurt; the road ahead would be bumpy and tough. Just before blackness enfolded him, he heard the reassuring voice of Gramps, “Hang in there son. This is just a little detour in your journey.”
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