I took Zoee up to see my dear friend, Thelma, this afternoon. I found her dozing in her room. She was lying, curled up on her side, with her face to the wall. She did not look well. In fact, it was obvious, even before she realized we were there, that she was in pain, even more than usual, but she brightened when she saw us. As the nurse said later, when I commented that she seemed to be in a lot of discomfort today, “She has a lot going on down there.”

She rolled onto her back, reached out, and took my hand.

“Hi, Thelma,” I said. “How are you doing today?”

“Not so good,” she confessed. “I haven’t been out of my room for the past…” She paused to do the count. “…three or four days.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” I said. “Not even to eat?”

“No, they bring it to me here.”

I glanced at her bedside table. The glass was empty. “Have you had anything to drink this morning? It’s not good if you get dehydrated. Can I get you some water? Would that go down all right?”

“Yes,” she said. “That would be nice.”

I took her glass to the water cooler. “Here,” I said, returning.

She struggled to sit up and sipped it through a straw. “That’s good,” she said. “Thank you.” She drank it all, then lay back down. “Thank you,” she repeated and took my hand again. “I love you.”

I kissed her on the cheek. “I love you, too. You hold a very special place in my heart.” With my other hand, I reached out and stroked her brow. We sat there in silence for a few minutes.

“Oh, that feels good,” she sighed. Gradually, her breathing slowed. Her eyes closed, and she sighed again.

Sometimes I wonder how much longer I’m going to last,” she said.

“Does that worry you?”

She looked at me. “Not really. I know I’m going to be safe.”

I nodded.

“And I will dream of you.”

I kissed her hand. Thelma is ninety-three years old, and I love her. I had no words. What else could I do?


~ by karenmcl on March 3, 2016.

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