Zadkiel’s Mercy

ZadkielMr. Earl’s home was now, and had been for more than two years, a small three room unit at a local nursing home. He lived in unit, as the rooms were called, number 109. The room had a bathroom, a living room with small attached kitchen that was hardly separated from the living room itself, and a bedroom. The rooms were sparsely furnished, containing only the essentials. Old carpeting covered the living room and bedroom floors while yellowed tile floors were in the kitchen and bathroom. The walls in all of the rooms were painted a drab lifeless color and had an almost hospital-like antiseptic look.
Mr. Earl was now very old and was alone. He tried to recall his younger years and the family that had long since passed on but the cruel effects of dementia tore at his memory. There were moments when he recalled his wife and son, but then, and as quickly as the memories came, they were gone. The once young man filled with ambition and dreams now sat quietly in a chair not realizing another Christmas Eve had come.
A nurse, he tried to recall her name, possibly Mary, came into his room earlier and placed a small wrapped box on his lap as he sat very still and silent. The dementia clouded his memory but she may have said Merry Christmas and kissed him tenderly on his forehead, but Mr. Earl may have only imagined that. There was only cold darkness on the other side of the window pane while a still quiet occupied the room. The tired old man succumbed to the quiet darkness, and fell asleep.
As the old man slept and fantasized of things that would not be later remembered he saw, far off in the distance but moving steadily toward him, a figure. As the figure came close to him he saw that the once obscure image was recognized as a man. This was a man who he had never before seen yet he appeared very familiar to the sleeper.
The man spoke to the sleeping Mr. Earl. “Hello, I am Zadkiel and I have come to speak to you and be with you this Christmas Eve night.” The old man thought it logical to ask why the uninvited guest had come to his room but for some inexplicable reason he believed he knew the reason for the seemingly impromptu visit.
Zadkiel spoke softly and with a soothing voice that somehow filled the old man with serenity and peace. “I have come to you on the eve of the day on which the world continues to celebrate the centuries old birth of the infant who Mary and Joseph named Jesus. I am here to convey to you that the suffering you have long endured will most mercifully come to an end. I know that the pain of old age which causes your hands to be deformed and useless is insufferable.
“The slightest sounds once carried into your now wrinkled ears can no longer be discerned and even the voices of those around you can no longer be heard with clarity. The eyes that once saw everything so clearly can no longer see the faces of those around you. Your legs that once allowed a youthful boy to run now don’t permit you to stand near the window and look out over the bright light of the day’s sun or marvel at the soft glow of the moon silhouetted against the darkened night sky.”
The man, for the first time in a very long while, seemed to understand so clearly the words spoken to him. He was not afraid and sensed that the man who called himself Zadkiel was no threat but was rather a friend who offered love, compassion and mercy.
Zadkiel spoke once again; “But, most of all I know you suffer from the most painful affliction of all, the loss of the memory of your friends, family, loved ones and of the years of your life before you came to this place. You no longer remember what brought you to this place and each day is unrecognizable because the last day is gone from your thoughts forever, as will this day be gone when the morning sun rises over the land tomorrow.”
Mr. Earl didn’t understand why his thoughts had suddenly become so clear but he knew the man was a messenger of sorts, a deliverer of hope, and he realized that he seemed to understand him so very well. Mr. Earl sat quietly for a moment then asked, “Am I to go with you this night, of all nights?” “Yes, but have no fear of the journey and know that you will not be thought of as a stranger when you reach the destination,” Zadkiel replied.
“I am taking you to a place where the pain and suffering you now endure do not exist. You will remember the names and faces of lost loved ones who wait so anxiously for your arrival. This stark, barren and lonely room will cease to be your home.” The Archangel of Mercy, Zadkiel, took the old man’s hand, raised him from the chair and the two traveled to the new and beautiful place.
Later that Christmas Eve night Mary came to room number 109 and found that Mr. Earl had left and would never return to accept the kisses she often placed upon his weathered brow. Mary removed the wrapped box from the old man’s lap and as a tear touched her cheek, she once again placed her lips to his forehead and gave him one parting farewell kiss. As her lips left the old man’s wrinkled temple she softly voiced her wish, “I pray that you are going to a better place.”

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