Last night I witnessed a most humbling act of human love. I was invited to dinner by oldest client, a 91-year old widow. Also invited were Dick, a retired Marine Colonel, his of 54 years, Beth, and my mother.
Just over a year ago, Beth had a stroke which almost killed her. When I say “almost killed her”, a mutual friend had called me the night of the stroke and suggested Beth wouldn’t make it more than a few hours. I went to bed that night believing she had already died. Goes to show you never can tell…
Beth would spend weeks hospitalized, and in an unconscious state. Eventually she would regain limited motor function and be transferred to a skilled nursing facility where she would reside for months, barely able.
In time, Beth would be sent home to be cared for by her husband, with a vigilance and determination no medical facility could provide. She now has an obvious awareness and presence of being, limited motor function, limited and delayed speech, and is wheelchair bound – and that’s where I witnessed a love like no other.
When they arrived at Dinner last night, I met Dick at the driveway to assist him with getting Beth out of the car. Like a good Colonel, he cast me aside with an arm gesture and a grumble, and stepped in for a job only he could do.
As Beth sat in the car, Dick leaned in and wrapped his arms around her, locking his hands against her back and began to hoist.
“Come on, Babe.”
“Help me out, Little Lady.”
“We’re almost done.”
Beth, frail and unable to help, smiled each time Dick spoke.
The tenor of his voice was soft and quite reassuring. The hold he maintained as he transferred her to the wheelchair was better than any firefighter. All the while…
“Come on, Babe. Thank you, little Lady. Let’s do this together…”
Throughout dinner, Dick doted over her like they were in high school. All evening, Beth smiled with eyes so bright they were in a perpetual state of big and round.
Dinner was good. I ate too much, but in a room full of post-depression era people, piles of food kept flowing, and who was I to argue.
The evening’s nutrition though, for me anyway, came not from the food, but from witnessing the love of man for his wife who nearly died, but stuck around finish what they had started so long ago… Jhciacb
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