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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hear (07/08/10)

TITLE: True Silence
By Angela M. Baker-Bridge


After three nights of tossing about on the lumpy visitor’s lounge couch, I decided I couldn’t be any less comfortable attempting to sleep on the bedside chair. As the long night dragged on, his moans interrupted my attempts to sleep on the brown plastic industrial recliner. His face spoke louder than his outcries of pain.

“Oh God,” I whispered, “Why must he suffer so?”

I called for his medical team. After they administered additional medication, he was able to slip into an induced level of rest. By then however, I was fully awake. Pacing as I prayed, the lump in my throat thickened. The ticking clock, the beeping monitors, his labored breathing, the hallway’s clatter, nurses chattering, footsteps, all sounds I didn’t want to hear in the middle of the night.

Settling back into my chair, I reached for my laptop. As it powered up, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I wasn’t in the mood to read email. I had already searched the Internet repeatedly trying to understand the medical terms thrown my way. Then it occurred to me.

As a blank PowerPoint presentation opened, my fingertips hovered over the keyboard, eager to respond to my heart’s voice. The clickety-click of the keys momentarily drowned out the bombarding beepity-beep of his bodily bulletins.

Collaborating peaceful landscapes, scriptures of healing, and his favorite piano sacred songs, brought me tremendous satisfaction. Finally, there was something I could do to help ease his anxiety and pain. Setting my laptop on his bedside table, I pressed the slideshow key to unveil my creation. With his eyes still closed, a peace prevailed upon his face as his breathing slowed. We were winning the spiritual battle in the heavens. The machines pronounced death. The music proclaimed life. There was only one thing left to do before closing my eyes.

Gently placing his warm weathered hand in mine, I leaned in close to his ear as I barely whispered, “Daddy, should God take you home while I’m asleep, please know that I love you and always will.”

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I felt him gently squeeze my hand. An unexpected serenity flooded my heart as the final notes of dad’s favorite hymn filled his hospital room…It Is Well With My Soul.

Knowing my father could hear the songwriter’s words as well as my final farewell made it easier for me to release him into God’s hands.

Shortly thereafter, as the machines were disconnected and his labored breathing stopped, for the first time in my life I could hear the sound of true silence.

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This article has been read 660 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/17/10
Your emotional story is presented excellently through the contrast of sounds and silence.
Joan Campbell07/17/10
A beautifully told, emotional story. There are such poignant moments here like the squeeze of the hand. Wonderful!
Carol Slider 07/18/10
So well-told, lovely, and heartbreaking. Very well done.
Kimberly Russell07/18/10
Heartbreaking but very heartfelt. Very well told.
Mona Purvis07/18/10
You painted the scene so very well and drew me into the moment. Powerful.

Chely Roach07/18/10
Beautifully bittersweet. I loved the last lines...sniff.
Maria Egilsson07/18/10
Your last words are so poignant. Tenderly written and a reminder to cherish each other before "true silence" comes.
Margaret Kearley 07/19/10
This is beautiful and touchs the heart very deeply. I love your lines 'The machines pronounced death. The music proclaimed life.'
Wonderful - thankyou.
Carole Robishaw 07/19/10
This was really moving. A good piece, hard to read because of the emotional content, but good!
AnneRene' Capp07/19/10
Not only was the excellently written in every aspect, it was heart-wrenchingly beautiful. This is the first time I actually cried while reading a challenge entry. What a comforting, comforting peace I received about going home. It is well with my soul. AMEN!
Kate Oliver Webb 07/20/10
Beautifully written, very evocative. So very real; the beep of the machines, the aching from trying to rest while worrying. Then the release as the Spirit ministers His peace through you. Thank you for a beautiful story.
Colin Swann07/20/10
A very poignant piece that brought back memories of dad squeezing my hand through his seemingly unconciousness when I told him I loved him and that Jesus was with him.
Beth LaBuff 07/20/10
This is so very moving. I loved your alliteration with, "bombarding beepity-beep of his bodily bulletins." Very good work here!
Carol Penhorwood 07/21/10
This really spoke to me as I had a very similar experience as I waited and watched during my mother's fight with cancer.

Because of nightmares, I played the Psalms through the night and she experienced heavenly peace and then as she lay dying, we played her favorite hymns and she slipped away peacefully.
Shirley McClay 07/21/10
Goosebumps. Both beautiful and painful to read.
Lollie Hofer07/21/10
Masterfully written, tenderly felt. Well done.
Author Unknown07/21/10
this is a beautiful piece and I love the clever word pairs- like bodily bulletins. I think you paint an accurate picture (and by that I mean, I can see the room, feel the chair, hear the sounds) of what it's like there at the last few moments.

the only hiccup for me was with the "pronounce death" before the death happens- I thought he'd died right there-- I think that's just a minor word choice thing- and maybe I'm the only one who was thrown off by that.

I thank you for sharing this moment of your own journey. I think your dad would squeeze your shoulder and put a big kiss on your head for telling it so well. Very well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/21/10
This is a lovely piece. It's so true how noisy a hospital is and what a wonderful way to drown out the noise and give comfort at the same time.
Susan Montaperto07/21/10
Beautifully written. It is hard to see and know a loved one in deep physical pain. God Bless. Keep writing.
Edmond Ng 07/21/10
Sad emotions well expressed when we see one we love departs, yet with assurance of God's salvation, we can be in true silence. It is certainly well with our souls "when peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul."
Marita Thelander 07/21/10
Very touching. I could "hear" the many sounds and feel the emotions that each sound produced.
Gerald Shuler 07/21/10
Angela, this mirrors my own experience when my wife passed away last August. The depth and accuracy of your emotional offering is incredible. Thank you for sharing what I could never bring myself to put in writing. Truly, thank you.