Death at a Ranch House

What would you say most people are afraid of? Well, I am sure there are many answers to that question. For parents, it might be losing their child. For children, it could be the bogeymen in the closet or being sent to bed early. As for the elderly, perhaps they most fear the injuries and the wear of old age.  Disregard my personal pride when I claim that I am the most feared of all; people do almost anything to avoid me. Even still, some greet me as a friend when I come for them and I am often proud to know them.

A day in my life, if you can call it that, is usually rather dull. It holds confusion for whoever I tend to throughout the day, followed by pleading, mourning acceptance, and then curiosity as to what the Afterlife holds for them. But today, I picked up a most unusual rider.

It was the last stop of the day, and the sun was beginning to set over the horizon that I would soon cross. It was an old country house, surrounded by the fading green grass of summer. On the front porch stood a woman, looking over the sunrise. She turned when I drove up.

“Is it time?” she asked. I nodded silently.

“I knew it was coming soon. I’m glad I could see the sunset one last time.”

No weeping, no last requests, no futile cries for one more day. Where was the despair, the fear? Why didn’t she run?

“No bargaining for one more day?”

“Why should I? It’s not like you could give me one.”

“I’d be willing to give it to a woman who faced me with dignity and peace like yours. It’s nice to not be treated like a monster.”

“It wouldn’t do me much good anyways.”

She smiles gently, as if recalling something beautiful.

“I said my good byes. That’s all I needed to do before you take me.”

“Why so contented?” I asked as she fondly ran her fingers along the porch railing one last time, “Most people would have leapt at your chance to put me off for another day. This isn’t a holiday, you understand.”

“Long ago, I thought about what I wanted from the time I had. I wanted a work I was proud of, a husband I adored, children I grew to love, and to live the best life I could.” She smiled “I enjoyed all of those things and lived my life the way I wanted to, so why should I fear the next adventure or hold onto what’s gone?”

That day, I came away with a newfound admiration for the human race. Apparently, they could contemplate and not run through life like dogs chasing cars. Some could feel completely satisfied with their lives by the time I took them. So, if I ever bump into someone not quite at their time, I share a simple story about the woman who contemplated her life before she lived the fullest version. Often it helps them find the exact purpose they never knew they were looking for.

Sarah C.Short Story