Massage Tales

Last Things

His organs were failing, and the doctors felt he had only a few days.  He was stretched out in an easy chair, soft winter sunlight warming his ashen skin.  A few cubicles down, his family quietly sobbed as they spoke to the doctor about hospice.  He didn’t want to hear about hospice, so he slept on.

I asked him if he wanted a foot massage, and he smiled and nodded.  I gently removed his shoes and took his feet in my hands.  “You’re like a cat in the sun,” I said.  He smiled and sank back into a doze.

As I massaged his feet, I realized — this is the last massage he would ever receive.  Barring some miracle, my massage was the last one of his life.  The thought hit me with all the force of a fall from a great height.  How could I live up to this responsibility.  I paused, my hands resting on the tops of his feet, until I felt his breathing, and I felt how calm he had become.  The sun still fell across his face, his eyes were shut and he had a small smile.  It was a moment of ease for him.  In the midst of months of worry, treatment and blood tests, here was a small moment of peace.  I held that peace as I finished the massage.

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