Anthony lived a long and full life and always tried to help others, even though his own family drifted apart. The decades passed. He never really felt his years until the arthritis set in. Overnight, it seemed, he went from merely old to decrepit. First he had to give up the nights he volunteered in a soup kitchen, then even one day a week helping at the opportunity shop just became too much, and that was before the first cancer was diagnosed.
It was a long slide into bedridden illness, but there was still some good. His daughter came to see him and they reconciled, even though by now she was a middle aged stranger, with family of her own. The pain, and the illness grew stronger. It came to wrack his body until Anthony could almost prey for death.
One night, in the witching hour when he new that death was upon him by the stutter of his monitor’s beep, by the rattle of his breath into bony chest, he held on only by memories of forgotten friends he longed to see again and the Tree came to him, the aspect of Leaves and life.
The monitor settled into a steady rhythm. His breath came easily, well past morning’s dawn. The doctors, on their rounds, began to double check his charts in growing confusion as Anthonys strength returned, and the years began to fall away. For the Tree was in him, and he was the Tree. The time had come to rise from his bed, pluck free the tubes and wires from his body.