Friday, April 14, 2023

The Birdfeeder

 Friday, April 14, 2023

I Cried A Little This Morning

 I have not been honest with Sadness.  Pretending she does not exist. Paying her no mind.

It's been a painstakingly long, brick by brick process to build a wall that she cannot penetrate.

Oh, I've had conflicts with Frustration and Anger.  Big battles in which they were the victor.  I would come away bruised and weary, guilty tears of regret readily flowing.   

I foolishly believed those bouts with Frustration and Anger gave me the strength to complete a wall that Sadness could not invade. 

Undaunted, Sadness whispers to me.  She says things like "You know the illness, it's what we call The Long Goodbye.  Surely that must make you sad, doesn't it?" 

With Anger egging me on, I defiantly reply, "He's still here! I take care of him,  I touch him, I kiss him good night. I am not sad.  We have not said good-bye!"

Sadness is relentless.  She follows me on my walks.  "Remember how you and he walked this same path, together?  Isn't it sad that he's not here with you today?"  

I quicken my step to try to out pace her and turn up my music to drown out her taunts. 

The other day, uninvited of course, Sadness came with me to browse around my sweetheart's and my local favorite garden center.   It was a springtime ritual.  He would look at the vegetable and herb plants.  My interest was the flower plants. 

That day, I impulsively purchased a $75 bird feeder.  Guaranteed to keep the squirrels at bay.  

"What would he have had to say about that?"  Sadness asked.  I thought about that for a minute or two as I carried my purchase to the car. 

Today I hung the feeder at the edge of our patio.  The spot is perfect.  I can see it from our kitchen window and also from our bedroom window where my sweetheart lies in his hospital bed. 

A few little finches immediately found their way and began pecking at the seed.  I watched from the bedroom window as empty seed pods floated onto the newly spring-green grass.

As I excitedly turned to tell Ross that the birds had already found the feeder,  I caught a flash of bright red  out of the corner of my eye.  

A cardinal was on the feeder, his mate waiting patiently on the ground for her turn. 

"Sweetheart,"  I said,  Mr. and Mrs.  Cardinal are here."

  I imagined his smile, and knew what he would have said.  

"See I told you buying that feeder would bring you joy.  Anything for my sweetheart, you know that."

It's okay, Sadness lovingly whispered,  it's ok. 

And I cried. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023


 The Two Beds

The Two Beds

Tuesday, February 7, 2023


It’s early, 5:31 a.m. to be exact and still very dark. Shadows of light streaming in from night-lights streak the walls. 

Lying in the middle of the Big Bed, I’m tired but wide awake. 

Ross is peacefully sleeping in the bed next to me. It's a narrow bed with cold chrome metal rails. I can hear his quiet breathing, in and out, in and out. 

I am thinking of the last time we were together in the Big Bed.  It too was early morning, a few weeks ago. twenty-six days to be exact.   

I was snuggled up to him, my arms across his thin bony chest.  

I painfully recall that I was softly crying, murmuring  a lot of “I’m sorries”. 

“I’m sorry I got angry,” I whispered.  

“It’s just that I’m tired, so tired.”  

"I'm so sorry." 

All that week Ross had been particularly restless during the day but even more so at night. 

That night I woke in the middle of the night to find him wandering around the bedroom, pointing and gesturing, lecturing to his long-ago students.

“Ross,” I grumpily and harshly said, “come back to bed!" 

After several more futile attempts to urge him back into the bed, raising my voice louder each time, I impatiently got out of bed, took his arm and and tried to lead him towards the bed. 

He shook my hand away, mumbling something about his students. 

Frustrated, I sat on the edge of the bed, not knowing what to do. 

An hour later, now 5:30 a.m., I could see he was slowing down. 

I stood up and once again took his arm. This time he let me lead him towards the bed. I helped him in and he immediately fell asleep. 

Little did I know, as I held onto him, whispering my apologies, that it would be the last time we would be together in the Big Bed. 

Later that morning, as I tried to get Ross dressed, he was unable to stand and could not lift himself out of the wheelchair. 

I had to call 911. 

He spent 4 days in the hospital with no improvement. 

During those 4 days I made arrangements to have a hospital bed brought into the house and put next to the Big Bed.   

He is now bedridden, confined to the narrow bed with the cold chrome metal rails. 

Each evening, 9:15 to be exact, I stand by the narrow bed. I lean over and stroke his silver hair.

“I’m going to get my PJ’s on now,” I say." 

"Then I’m going to go to sleep right next to you, okay?”

I lean over the chrome barriers to kiss his forehead. 

“I love you. You are my favorite.  You’re my sweetheart.” 

Although he doesn’t respond, I know he understands. 

As I hold tightly onto those icy barriers, with not even the heat from the palms of my hands warming them, I yearn to crawl in next to him one more time.