Mantis

True Story:

The evening before my dad died, a praying Mantis landed on the front screen door. Mother recalled that a mantis takes up temporary residence on that porch this time every year.

All that evening and into that long, long night, while family came and went, and we stepped out for soothing night air, that screen door opened and closed again and again and again. Through it all, that solitary Mantis held vigil, much as we inside held loving vigil over his final night.

Morning light found our mantis devotional still. As Nancy the hospice nurse came and went, and his loving CNA Kathy came to bathe and massage him, that mantis remained. Silent. Still.

He drew his last labored breath mid-morning, and as we stepped outside to find consoling air, we noticed our mantis still in prayer. As family flocked together to share numb prayers, opening and closing his door another few dozen times, our monkish mantis never moved.

And later, as the mortician arrived, minister mantis stood steadfast. Only after his sons helped guide him one last time through that door—into eternity—did our freakish friar fly away.

The Ancients believed the mantis had divine and magical powers. May a divine and magical mantis sing kaddish for each of us in our time. Amen

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