The old woman lay dozing. Mussy hair framed her pale face; the hair was white, like snow. IVs pumping clear liquid ran between needles in her wrists and plastic bags beside her bed. She was tall, and very, very thin.
“Hello, Mrs. Andrews? Are you awake?”
Wide eyes opened, alarmed. The eyes were brown.
“Didn’t mean to startle you,” said my dad. “I’m Dr. Cyphers and [motioning to me] this is my daughter, Jessica. We came to wish you a Merry Christmas.”
The eyes softened. “Oh, well . . . How nice of you.”
“It’s never fun to be in the hospital,” I said. “Especially not on Christmas. How long have you been here?”
The eyes grew sad. “I . . . I can’t remember.”
“What brought you in?” my dad asked. “Are you in pain?”
“No.” White hair shook. “Not anymore. I . . . They don’t know what’s wrong.”
“I’m so sorry . . . At least you’re in the right place,” said Dad.
The woman nodded. “Yes, they take good care of me.” She paused. “What church did you say you’re with again?”
“No church,” I said. “We’re here on own own . . . ” Suddenly, I remembered the token in my hand, “Oh, and we brought you something.” I placed a candy-cane-filled card in her hands. “Even though you’re stuck here, we wanted to bring you a little cheer. Merry Christmas!”
“Yes, Merry Christmas,” said my dad.
“Thank you. God bless you . . . Merry Christmas to you, too!”
As my dad and I left to go to the next patient’s room, Mrs. Andrews’ eyes shone with tears.
- Making the Holidays Bright (jesscy.wordpress.com)
- Volunteers Help Veterans Have Merry Christmas (baltimore.cbslocal.com)
Such a moving post, Jessica. Not a word more, not one less. Very appropriate.
Thank you so much. This one took quite a bit of tinkering. But I’m sure you know how that goes. ;)
Yeah :) . Important thing is you didn’t discard the idea. It found it’s voice in the form of a blog. Finally.
nicely written. short. descriptive. sensitive. real meaning. Thanks Jess.
Jessica, you captured the essence and poignancy. My blog focuses on helping parents age well until the end (which is what brought me to “Mrs. Andrews.”) How thoughtful and special of you and your Dad to make these visitations.
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, Susan. I’m glad you liked this post. This Christmas was going to be anything but traditional for me and my family, so I thought, “Why not do something for someone else?” Visiting people in the hospital that day turned out to be a bigger blessing to me than to the patients, I think. I hope to make more visits like this soon.