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Dying in Idaho

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It was dark outside.  The sunlight lingers in Idaho, often staying bright enough to read a book at 9:30 at night. 

It was late and, in the little corner bedroom, the dying man lay on a bed in the corner.  The only illumination came from a chipped ceramic lamp that sat across the room on an antique dresser that he had bought and refinished as a gift to his wife on their first anniversary.  That was almost fifty years go.

His daughter walked into the room and slowly sat on a chair next to the bed.  Neither of them spoke and the only sound was the labored breathing of the dying man on the bed.  She took his hand and held it.  She noticed that the hand that had guided her through life was cold to the touch.  The skin -- almost transparent and feeling like parchment -- was soft.

As the dying man on the bed turned his eyes to her she recounted the memories of their shared journey called life.  As she spoke, she lifted his head gently and slipped the sedative into his mouth.  Holding a glass of water for him to sip, she stared into his eyes torn with the moistness of tears that only old men dying on a bed can reveal.

Lowering his head back onto one of the two pillows, she kissed his forehead, patted his hand, told him she loved him and started to leave the room.  At the door she stopped and turned and said, "I'll be back in an hour daddy".  Pulling the door behind her she stepped outside into the garden and stared at the stars.

Watching the night sky she pulled her sweater closer to ward off the chill.  As the cars sped by on the highway below the hill, she thought the many thoughts that a woman would have as her father lay sleeping -- a man dying on the bed.

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Checking her watch she felt sad when she noticed how quickly time had gone.  An hour had passed.  It was time.

Silently she opened the door to his room.  She walked quickly across the room and sat where she had sat an hour before.  Patting his hand gently she softly said, "Daddy?"  When he didn't respond, she knew it was time.  For a few seconds wrapped up in eternity she watched his labored breathing.  Reaching over him she picked up the pillow.

While legislators in the Idaho statehouse pontificate about how much they care for the citizens of the state they cater to the wealthy and rich allowing groundwater to be poisoned, state parks to be ruined and hard working citizens to go without the most basic right of all -- the right to affordable healthcare.

While legislators forbid women to have an abortion even in cases of rape, they loudly proclaim that everyone has the right to life.

Meanwhile, there's a man laying dead on a bed in a corner bedroom with just a light from a chipped ceramic lamp setting on an antique dresser that he had bought his wife for their first anniversary.

The story you have just read is true.  I heard the story first hand recently while somewhere in Idaho.  I will take the daughter's name to my grave with me, so don't even ask who she is.  With her permission, I share this story with you to throw the light on the hypocrisy that oozes from the Idaho statehouse in Boise.  

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Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publicaitons and news outlets including USAToday, CNN, Upsurge, CBS, Dream Row, Earthwalkers and others. He photographs and licenses images for all manner of commercial and editorial use as well as (more...)

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I have heard seemingly countless others like it, i... by Daniel Geery on Monday, Jun 18, 2012 at 2:19:39 PM
...and for being a reader.  Please be sure to... by Jerry Nelson on Monday, Jun 18, 2012 at 4:27:56 PM