It was a night like any other after a day of the same. They all ran together anymore like time. My body was drifting away from my mind by each passing day. I lived in a gray area. That time between life, you know real life and death? Real life was when I lived for another day. This was each day waiting to pass away to another. You see, I lived in a “nursing home” and that was my daily existence. Oh they tried to make it a workable situation. A situation is exactly what it was. They fed me. They washed my clothes. They found activities a second grader could handle. Such as cutting paper and gluing it to another piece of paper and calling it Emil’s Paper Sculpture. Oh, and I was person of the week once but there was no Mother or son around to make my giant poster placing each photograph perfectly next to another of our pets or me riding my pony. There was no daughter to check on my care. Just me alone in one room I paid for during my working years. I surely thought I had done somewhat better than this. One window, dull walls, no curtains, no radio, and especially no computer for me to live out my days through others. Prison might have been more fun actually. A barrage of crazies to watch, listen to, and definitely more activities. Maybe no Bible in the drawer but then I had already read that a couple times and I am still in the dying room. I guess each day of life is another day toward dying. We just don’t get to know which day or year. And every decision big or small makes our days good or bad as they lead us to the day we pass away.
Then came a day that turned out different from the rest, when Nurse Amy informed me I had a visitor.
A visitor? My mind didn’t get too excited for it was probably the “mill’s” Chaplain doing his Godly duty making sure I had my Godly ducks in a row in case this was my day to go. Most people enjoyed his visits except me. I always wondered what he was hiding behind his little clean white crisp God collar. I figured when it came right down to it we were both going to the same place, answering to the same Universe. I was probably more honest with my old dirty blue collar than Mr. Chaplain ever had been.
Turned out I was wrong because in walked the prettiest lady I had seen in a long time besides a few of the aides, but they were like Great Grandchildren to me. I surely did not view them as pretty or otherwise. No, this lady carried a special aura around her entire being as she walked over and laid her hand upon mine. Why I wondered if God had sent a true to life Angel to come for me. What a joy to walk through the passageway of time with this beauty. She was almost as pretty as my beloved mama.
She introduced herself as Miss Julianna. Said she had come to listen to whatever I wanted to talk about. I just stared at her for the longest time. She took my hand in hers as she looked past my old eyes and into my lonely mind. She told me she cared what I thought about, and she cared about my feelings as she squeezed my hand. She was interested in anything I had to say. Funny thing was I couldn’t think of a thing to say. I could only stare into her beautiful green eyes and long thick red hair. Her eyes seemed to summon the old me to come out and play like I was a young twenty year old again.
I smiled what I recall being the first smile in a very long time. And then reality struck and I worried I might not smell the best. They only washed us up some before bed and that was if they had time. As for a shower, that came once a week and it hadn’t been that day. I had no pretty rings anymore. No nice watch or crisp clean shirt with pressed slacks to impress Miss Julianna. My skin was dry and I wondered if my breath was offensive. And then I realized she did not care about my physical body at all. She cared about my spirit and who I was all my life. She cared about my spirit forever into infinity. My life mattered because one person cared. Really cared.
And so it was that day while I lay dying she listened to all that was in my heart. And she listened for hours while holding my hand and sipping her lemon water.
I passed away that day. But I took with me that twenty year old man and a renewed confidence I could handle what came next……..