An elderly man lay dying in his bed, when he smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies wafting up the stairs. He gathered his remaining strength and lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort forced himself down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands. He followed the smell, and finally leaned against the doorframe and gazed into the kitchen. Were it not for death’s agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven. Hundreds of his favorite chocolate chip cookies were spread out on the kitchen table. Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted wife, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man?
Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself toward the table, landing on his knees in a rumpled posture. His parched lips parted; the wondrous taste of the cookie was already in his mouth. The aged and withered hand trembled as he reached for a cookie at the edge of the table. Just as his hand closed over the cookie, his wife smacked his hand with a spatula.
“Stay out of those!” she scolded. “They’re for the funeral.”