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It was another night, of another week, of another month in yet another year of my employment. And as always, another lesson of life and death awaited me. In a room at the far end of my hall, lay an elderly woman imminently dying. Her husband kept careful watch over her in a chair pushed tightly against her bed. It was late and the lights were turned down low. The dying, you see, are very sensitive to light.
All was quiet as he laid his head near her pillow and held her hand. Ever so gently, so tenderly, his other hand brushed her gray hair away as he appeared to be looking into her face. I think perhaps he looked beyond her wrinkled face and saw their years of life together. Memories lay there in strands of gray and withered face. They spoke of stories only he could recall. Even though she never offered a response, he kept assuring her that he loved her and everything would be alright. He told me they had been married for over 50 years and for the last two he had been her caregiver.
What is it that makes another human being want to love you and stand by your side no matter what? For better or worse, for richer or poorer and most of all, in spite of your flaws and morning breath. What is the alchemy of undying love? I thought about these things after I left the room. No doubt it was agonizing watching the rise and fall of her chest knowing that with each breath she took, it would be one less that she had.
Exhausted, he closed his eyes and fell asleep stretched between the chair and her pillow in a painfully awkward looking contortion. It was so beautiful and precious seeing them together; and it was so pitiful at the same time. What was years together had now become hours. I mumbled a silent prayer under my breath as I quietly watched. It wasn't a prayer for her or for him. It was for myself. I wanted to experience a love like that. It was a little past 3 am, as I remember, he lay there asleep holding her hand when she quietly left him.
The trees reach out as silent witnesses always willing to listen to your troubled heart. Nature offers her ears to anyone who speaks into the omnipotant silence. There are places that wait for you. You are loved....you are wanted....you are cared for. You are not alone.....you are not alone.....you have never been alone.