Nomsa wished that closing her eyes would also render her deaf as she longed to silence the sobs and sniffles of her loved ones.
“The bed is surrounded by my family,” she said. “I’m going to die.”
Her Spirit responded. “I’m willing to keep on fighting. Why are you ready to give up?”
“I’ve been fighting this cancer for 11 years now. I can’t take it anymore.”
“We’ve only been together for 15 years. You’ve got another 80 years to live. I’m not ready to leave. We’re in this fight together.”
Nomsa closes her eyes, her breathing shallow. “Do you really think we can make it to 95 years.”
“I don’t know but I’m willing to try.” Her voice cracks.
“Are you crying?” Nomsa asked.
“We don’t cry. We empathise.”
Nomsa smiles. “Thank you. You’re a great friend.”
“Friend? You can’t live without me.”
“I think you have that backwards.”
“You’re the one that’s going to…”
Nomsa struggles to breathe. Her Mom strokes her hair which is comforting. Now she welcomes the weeping because it means she’s still alive.
“What happens to you when I die?”
“I go on a journey,” Spirit answers.
“You mean Jesus?”
“That’s what you call him. We don’t have a name for him. Nothing fits.”
“How long is the journey?” Nomsa inquired.
“I don’t know. I’ve never taken it before.”
“Will you be given another body?”
“No way. I was created for you and you alone. You’re not going to get rid of me that easy.”
A tear escapes and tracks down Nomsa’s temple before Mom wiped it away.
“I’m scared,” she announces.
“What are you afraid of?”
“I’m not what’s going to happen when I die. I don’t know what it’s like to be buried. I don’t know how long I’ll be there. I don’t know much about the afterlife.”
“You know how a caterpillar builds a cocoon, lives there for a while, and when the time is right it springs forth as a butterfly, beautiful and free.
Nomsa stops breathing. “I love butterflies.”
“Do you think it cares about the cocoon it just exited?”
“But in your illustration I’m the cocoon.”
“No, you’re the butterfly.”
“I thought you were the butterfly.”
“No, I’m you.”
Nomsa leaves her body as her family lament over her cocoon, and start the grieving process.
“You mean I’ve been conversing with myself.”
“Yes, and clearly you want to keep that going.”
Nomsa looked down at her parents and smiled. If they knew the freedom she felt now, free from sickness, disease and pain, they would rejoice with her.
She blew them a kiss. “Thank you for everything.” To her Spirit she commanded, “Next journey. Let’s go.”
“It’s your journey,” she said. “Lead the way.”