Writing 101 – Day 6: A Character Building Experience (The Grim Reaper)

He was hiding in the shadows of the stark white room. Exhaling an icy breath, making the room uncomfortably cold.  I folded my arms in a weak attempt to shield him.  From the sadness that engulfes the room.  I dropped my gaze and felt tears freezing in my sockets.

He is evil as he prays on the old and frail.  The weak and the sick.  An omnipresence appearing in the wake of tragedy.  He appears without making a sound and lurches in the shadows whilst he watches.  You feel his presence, the way he spreads grief and despair.  I imagine a pale skin stretched over a bleak skull hidden under a big, black hood.  His sunken empty eyes glaring at us standing around the bed.

Does he savour the last moments of life that someone is clinging to?  Does he enjoy the desperation of someone who is still willing to fight?  Does he curl his bony fingers around his sickle in anticipation of that inevitable final breath?

There’s a shift in the room.  He lies motionless but looks at me with those green eyes. He knows I am there. Smiles weakly, looks for my hand and then grabs my soul. I wish I could do something but we both knows everything is done.

Serenity fills the room as if a wind has blown it via the air vents, like a gas overwhelming me.  He looks peaceful, a passenger with all the suitcases packed. Ready to go on a new adventure.  It is time to say goodbye.  And he doesn’t seem scared, not like us.  He wants to go home.

Maybe death is not the monster we make him out to be.  Maybe the Grim Reaper is an angel with a brilliant white robe and a face that could light up the darkest night.  Big, inviting eyes and a smile that removes all fear and uncertainty.  Maybe he is just a companion, someone that makes the journey easier, a tour guide of sorts.  A doorman welcoming you to a new dimension, to a place where there is no sickness and no pain and no fear.  Only joy and freedom from this wordly existence.

An angel that spreads his awesome wings and carries you into the heavens, higher and higher, cradling you, protecting you as you escape to the meeting place of our loved ones who has already passed on from this world to the next one.

The Grim Reaper might be the ferryman, taking us across to Paradise and not the tormentor of souls we sometimes make him out to be.

12 thoughts on “Writing 101 – Day 6: A Character Building Experience (The Grim Reaper)

  1. Ek het lanklaas so gewonder oor ‘n blog ‘character building’ en dan staan die doderyk en loer.. ek aanvaar(my mening) hoe jy leef en geleef het – so sal jy dalk die laaste oomblikke ervaar.. ongeag wat rede is van afsterwe.


  2. HI, Peter, I’m going through e-mails and posts I’ve skipped in an effort to stay current (not succeeding) and found this one. I love the imagery here and I like the way it ends, with peace for the dying while those left behind are afraid of their own grief at the loved one’s passing. I would like to add a personal note here, that those who belong to God generally die peacefully, knowing they will be welcomed home. Unfortunately, those who refuse to ut their trust in Jesus, the only One who loved us enough to take our penalty for sin, and the only one qualified to do so, will not end up in heaven. But God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentence. 2 Peter 3:9 Have a blessed day.


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