I recently spent Valentine's Day and the rest of the week in hospital as I recovered from double pneumonia. It was an incredible experience and learning opportunity. I was situated in the emergency room for several days. Each time I have been in hospital, I have found the ER my preferred choice. There is always something to see – the activity is constant. It is also a place where nurses and aides are constantly giving the patients attention. Once you have a designated room, it is not as easy to get the needed glass of water, or an extra blanket. The staff in ER is incredibly patient and truly give service with a smile – with no exceptions!
I was in the ER when I watched a woman walk her husband, (a patient), down to the wash room several times. On one occasion, as she returned, she called to me, then nodded her head toward her husband. When I asked him how I could help, he said, "Could you tell me where our room and bed is?”
“It’s right across from me,” I answered. “I remember you because I noticed your tattoo then and I see it now.” He thanked me and went to his “room”.
I was so very touched because his wife left him with all his dignity when she nodded to him to ask me a question. She could have said, “Here it is.” She could have gotten impatient. Instead, she sponsored him to ask and be directed.
When she was ready to leave, I called her over. I praised her for her love and for her diplomacy. She said Doug was extremely ill. Although she hoped for recovery, she did not expect it. She mentioned that 2 years before she and Doug had gone on an extended holiday, visiting many countries. She talked about her husband being almost completely well during the entire holiday (about three months long). She spoke of the different places, and whenever she spoke of her husband, her voice softened with love. “We’ve been married for 52 years,” she shared with me.
We became friendly over the next few days. When we both received beds upstairs, we were still across from each other and still visited. I watched her as love poured from her – not sadness, not pity, not personal wishfulness, just the honest warmth of nurturing love.
Doug has recently passed on, but I know that my friendship with Peggy will bloom. I wanted to honour her by sharing the few days of her story. I wanted to tell the world that although we age, and parts of us grow gnarled, the heart never ages. The heart’s love is always young, always vibrant.
Peggy and Doug, I thank you for this life lesson.