I didn't care anymore if he was a big mouth, which is what I had always thought. I started going over to his house, which was just about four miles away, to give him Reiki. Surprisingly, Ed was wide open to whatever I had to offer. I think I called it foot massage. Lots of the time he hurt too much to do more than gently hold his feet, so that's eventually all I did.
Ed's bed was already down in the living room by the time I started going over there much, but before that, he'd lay on the couch and I'd sit at his feet. His wife continued to smoke cigarettes and hang out with her friends in the room, drinking beer and talking, as if her husband wasn't dying, ten feet away. The TV was always on and I finally asked her not to smoke in there because I couldn't take it. Ed never said a thing, never complained, but was very quiet, in his own world. His girls came and went as if he was always going to be there, wrapped up in their teenage lives.
We didn't talk much; I'd just sit for an hour or so, offering what comfort I could.
As his time to pass came closer, the family no longer allowed visitors. While I thought it was great that the girls, especially the older daughter, wouldn't be parading people through the house, I wanted to be there. I knew from watching him how much comfort he got from what I was doing.
The day of his passing I woke up early with an insistent voice whispering, "Get over there. Get over there, Now!" So I called the house and asked whoever answered if they had had breakfast. When she told me no, they hadn't really been eating, I said, "I'm coming over to make you breakfast now," and I think hung up before there was room for discussion. It was my in.
Stopping by the convenience store between our two houses, I got some bacon and eggs and cheese and milk, maybe biscuits in a roll, and oddly, a bag of oranges. I hurried.
Ed was in the living room in a hospital bed, new since I'd been there last. His wife and two daughters were there with a nurse. That was all. And me. I went in to see him, but he wasn't conscious, so I just held his feet for a moment then went in the kitchen. The younger daughter got me Ed's electric juicer so I could make them all fresh orange juice. It was a point, that this was her dad's juicer, that he loved making fresh juice with, that he'd used for years.
I was juicing away, when all of a sudden the juicer just stopped, and a moment later his wife let out a howl of grief. I ran into the living room just in time to see Ed's spirit leave his body. A wispy white form rose over his head and hovered there for a moment, then rose. His family was screaming and crying, and I was in awe. I just stood there, until it was obvious he was gone.
I went back in the kitchen. The juicer worked fine again. All my life, since I had been raised on the "if I should die before I wake" prayer, I had feared death. Ed gave me the gift of seeing how easy and holy it could be.