Monday, May 4, 2009

old people

I love talking to people and hearing their life story. It is surprising how much a person will share with you when you genuinely ask them how they are doing. Everybody has a story to share and most people want to share it with someone and be known.

While I have been hanging out at the hospital these past few weeks, I have met a whole lot of old people. Of course, I always try to smile and say hi to them especially the 'regulars' and ask them how they are doing. Two people that I have met touched my heart in a cool way. The first lady, Esther, was sitting in a wheelchair pushing herself with her feet. I offered to help her along her way. Her husband had just had a heart attack and was in the ICU. The way she talked about her husband--the tone, voice inflections, words---was so beautiful. She had loved this man for a very long time and was on the brink of losing him. I sat in the waiting room with her for thirty minutes, gave her a diet pepsi, shared laughter with her, but also shared tears with her. I wish I could have done more. I wish my words could have eased her pain. The next day she was gone which means her husband had passed away. My prayer is that Esther could experience the God of all comfort.

The other man, I never caught his name, had been here since my mom had been here. Every night I saw him sleep on this little love seat with his jeans rolled up above his boots and his flannel shirt on. His wife was admitted to the ICU two days before my mom was admitted into the hospital. His wife had suffered a heart attack and each time I asked him how she was doing he would say with teary eyes, 'not good.' (Just thinking about his tears makes me want to cry again.) Wow, he loved his wife. He went on to tell me how his first wife died March 16th, 1961 (I'm not sure why I remember that date.) He had slept with her in the hospital the first 18 days she was there, but went home the 19th to sleep at home. That night he received a phone call from the hospital to return because she had passed away. He had such regret for that moment and his greatest fear again was that the moment he leaves his second wife will pass away. He desires more than anything to hold her hand as she walks from life to death. He talked about how her children had only been up here once and twice to visit her and that broke his heart. he didn't seem like the kind of man who would tell his children his feelings, but that man taught me how much it does mean to people to sit with them and love them in their last days.

I wasn't at the hospital much the past couple of days because of working, but that man is gone. He is no longer the permanent structure sitting on or near the love seat by the elevator. He no longer offers me his tearful smiles and advice every day. My heart aches for him because I know he wasn't going to leave until his wife had left this world. My prayer for him to is that he could experience God during this time of pain and heartache.

Moral of the should all talk to some old people soon...they have a whole lot to teach you and great stories to be told.