Southerly by David Haywood

4

Swans

My Grandfather was one of those atheists who don't so much disbelieve in God, as personally dislike him.

On the final day, when he lay dying in hospital, he told me how glad he was not to be tempted by any last-minute religious feelings.

"I wouldn't give God the satisfaction," he said.

By this time, the slightest movement gave him pain. I could hear blood foaming in his lungs.

He died later that same hour. His face showed neither pain, nor absence of pain, but only surprise.

At the very end, he whispered: "The room is full of swans."

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