(Damond and his Grandpa July 2012)
The last book Damond had been reading was his Cardiology book.
Coincidence? No. I do believe there was a reason, other than to prepare for his next rotation.
Fitting? Yes! It shows who Damond was and how hard he studied and worked to become a doctor.
He finished taking his board exams (Step 2) the second week of November. He took a couple weeks off from studying to focus on his residency interviews. But he kept insisting that he needed to get the study guide for the next board exams (Step 3) he would take NEXT year. And I kept insisting that he did NOT need to start studying (during our vacation month) for a test he would take NEXT year.
He appeased me for a few days, before he finally insisted he needed some kind of book during down time, you know, like stop lights. Each time I picked him up from the airport from an interview, he had a new book.
Well, the last book he finished reading was called, "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander M.D.
(It's about a neurosurgeon, who is more science minded than religious, but then has a near death experience, while in a coma.)
Coincidence? No! I know there was a reason. I had to read it to find the answer.
Fitting? Yes. Obviously!
I found this book to be very interesting, but I kept wondering why this would have been the last book Damond would finish. I found my answer at the end of this book.
The author shares a poem he found on the back of a photograph.
"When Tomorrow Starts Without Me" David M. Romano
When tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry the way you did today,
while thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.
I know how much you care for me, and how much I care for you,
and each time that you think of me I know you’ll miss me too;
But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand,
that an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand,
and said my place was ready in heaven far above,
and that I’d have to leave behind all those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away, a tear fell from my eye,
for all life, I’d always thought I didn’t want to die.
I had so much to live for and so much yet to do.
it seemed almost impossible that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the love we shared and all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday, I thought, just for a while,
I’d say goodbye and hug you and maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realised that this could never be,
for emptiness and memories would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things that I’d miss come tomorrow.
I thought of you, and when I did, my heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through Heaven’s gates, I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me, from His great golden throne,
He said, "This is eternity and all I’ve promised you,
Today your life on earth is past but here it’s starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last.
and since each day’s the same, there’s no longing for the past.
But you have been so faithful, so trusting, so true.
Though there were times you did some things you knew you shouldn’t do.
And you have been forgiven and now at last you’re free.
So won’t you come and take my hand and share my life with me?"
So when tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart,
for every time you think of me, please know I’m in your heart.
I started reading this book after finding it in his backpack a week or so after his death.
It took me awhile to finish it, because I didn't want to finish the last book he had finished.
When I picked it up to finish reading it this poem was on the very next page.
Ironic? Who needs irony during such a tender moment?
Coincidence? No! Another Tender Mercy.
I will forever remember the first time I read this poem and how I could almost hear Damond's voice, reciting it to me.