Terrell's oversized heart is racing now; his breathing sounds like gurgles and sometimes briefly stops.
His doctors and nurses have told his parents that Terrell's vital signs indicate he may be a day or so from death. They say his life may end in a massive heart attack, and they plan to increase his medication so he doesn't feel as much pain if that happens.
Valicia and Carl have called their son Cortez home from Michigan; they were waiting for his plane to arrive in Louisville this afternoon.
As they waited, they sat with Terrell on his bed, where he lay bare-chested, weak and feverish, under a thin sheet. Valicia held his hand and placed it on her cheek, then just held it there as Carl watched from a nearby recliner.
On the bedside table was a bible the family has been reading from. During the few minutes Terrell was awake today, Valicia had read to him from Isaiah, Chapter 41: "Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not gaze about, for I am your God. I will fortify you... I will really keep fast hold of you with my right hand of righteousness.....Do not be afraid. I myself will help you."
A friend soon joined the family in Terrell's room, and a hospice nurse eventually arrived to give them the specifics about increasing his pain medications. Her words seemed to echo from a deep silence that had fallen over the room.
Those words punctuated Valicia's pain. She burst into tears, got up from Terrell's bed and clung to her husband, burying her face in his chest as he held her close.
(Photo by Sam Upshaw, Jr.)