Tetelestai

In the Scriptures, “Tetelestai” was the last utterance of Christ on the cross. Loosely translated from the Greek “τετέλεσται”, it means “It is finished”, complete, done.

I’m going to let theologians debate the scriptural significance of Tetelestai – I’m using it here as a metaphor.

On this day after Good Friday (and on the same day as that darned giraffe finally gave birth to her calf), there is an awful lot that seems “finished”. I’m going into this Easter holiday looking around our little house at all of the projects my late husband finished. He painted every wall in our home, every cabinet in the kitchen, laid the concrete block pathway to the driveway, constructed the shed in the backyard, crafted all of the hanging light fixtures and the track lighting in my office, built my computer and the desk that I sit at, and built the fence that surrounds our yard, protecting both the dogs and me.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

It’s almost a time-line, really, of the worsening of his plethora of illnesses – the grandiose projects that he completed when we first moved in – so full of energy, so many dreams. The projects got smaller and simpler as his health waned, and then stopped completely when simply breathing and moving became project enough for him. At first, we’d joke about it. “It’s a two hour project” he’d say, and I’d respond “See you next Thursday then, right?” because simple projects took longer, but they still got done. As the years passed, many of the smaller projects became my domain – with him “supervising” of course. But the unspoken truth was that he’d never again do “the guy things” around the house.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

I have been looking through albums of our fly-fishing trip to the San Juan river – one of our last escapades before his condition rendered us tethered to places that were in easy access of a cell phone signal at first, then later to a hospital.

So much finished – a testament to him as much as to us… Tetelestai. It is finished.

The hard drive in computer he built for me crashed the day before he went into the hospital for what would be his last procedure. He’d replaced it and the power supply countless times before, with an ease that still amazes me when I dare contemplate the mess of wires and parts – but this time, he and I both knew he wouldn’t be able to repair it. “Get a new computer” he said. I agreed. There would be no more repairs, no more tinkering, no more projects. We both knew, but it was somehow a dramatic punctuation mark to his decline.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

And, in many ways – the disease process that sapped him of his strength, ate away at his heart, his eyesight, his kidneys, his liver – is now finished too. He told me candidly about six months before we raced him to the emergency room for the last time, that for the last three years he’d been in nearly excruciating pain every single day.

So, the fear, the anger, the kitchen table that looked like a pharmacy with the dozens of prescriptions he had to take each and every day, and yes – the pain – Tetelestai. It is finished.

And yet, the bathroom is still three-quarters of the way done… (His massive tiling project was halted by his illness before it could be completed), the long hoped for trips to Branson, Missouri and Tombstone, Arizona never happened.

The remainder of my life is still unfinished (possibly three-quarters of the way done at this point, but, unfinished). My plans have been irretrievably altered of course – and the old dreams, I’m sure, will be supplanted by new ones. But, incontrovertibly – my old life….

Tetelestai. It is finished.

One comment

  1. Helen · April 15

    And alas when Jesus uttered those words, Tetelestai, there was a promise you would be together again. God bless, Judi ❤️❤️❤️

    Like

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