April 14, 2019
My mind was spinning with not much in it but numbness. How can a mind spin with utter numbness? I stopped at a friends house to drop off some home made brownie’s for their adorable almost two year old. They were having a rough time so I stayed. Their dog needed a walk. He had not been walked in three days. My friends looked exhausted because they were. Their sweet little guy who calls me “Auntie Rorel” (did I mention he’s not quite two?), is struggling very hard with eczema – head to toe. He is absolutely miserable. It breaks my heart. So I stayed. I prayed with them, I offered to walk the dog and take the little sweetie for a walk. Off we went soon to be joined by my friend who needed a visit. We had a delightful time and I was glad to be able to cheer up my little sweetie with brownies.
I headed from there to the hospital. Yes, the hospital. Yes, the hospital gives me massive creeps. I am thankful for it, yet really don’t want to be there. For one, my Mom died there. For two, Glen was there for two weeks…and now he’s gone too…and I miss him like crazy… Yeah, not my favorite place in the world right now. Yet here I am, at the hospital. I was here to visit another friend. He has severe dementia and fell, breaking his hip resulting in the need for a hip replacement. We almost lost him and hard as this is, I really wanted to see my friend and his wife. I took a deep breath, parked my car and took another deep breath. “Lord help me,” I whispered. “God,” I added, “I hate this place.”
I took another deep breath and walked in to the all too familiar place heading to the car payment machines. From there I headed to the elevators. A young couple ran to the elevators and with not a word, nor a glance at me ran into the elevator. I joined them and snuck a glance their direction. Something horrible must have happened. I get it. I sent up a silent prayer for them and whatever was going on. I punched floor 3. Baker 3 – thank God it wasn’t the same floor as Glen had been on…or so I thought. I got to Baker 3 and asked what room my friend was in. The nurse there directed me to Baker 2. Room 2119. That sounded too familiar. My senses started to prick. The hairs on my arms began to tingle. My head began to spin. I walked through the familiar Baker 2 doors that were usually closed due to wandering patient risk. I stopped as I saw April, one of Glen’s nurses.
“Hi,” I said with heart pounding. “He’s gone,” I mustered out.
“I know,” she nodded. “I looked it up and saw. I’m so sorry. How are you holding up?”
I know she was being kind. I wasn’t holding up very good. Functioning, but miss him so much it hurts. It hurts all the time no matter what I am doing. I get distracted, which is good, but he’s always there. I answer in a vague sort of way. I find myself doing that a lot lately. I look towards what I am fearing – the room.
“I think I’m visiting someone in Glen’s old room,” I say quietly to April.
“Are you ok for that?” she asks with genuine concern.
“No,” I answer honestly. “But these people are important.”
I say a hasty goodbye and walk numbly to Glen’s old room. How can I even describe the heart-numbing walk? How cruel is this? My friend is in Glen’s old room? My heart was beating like mad. My head was spinning. I looked for the old gentleman that always sat outside our room – he wasn’t there. Where was he? This wasn’t right. Everything was wrong. This was wrong. How could I walk into the room without Glen being there? This was wrong.
I stood outside the door for a second and took the plunge. I stopped short in the doorway…There he was. Lying in the bed. Skinny. Beard and slightly balding. It could be Glen…but it wasn’t. It wasn’t me sitting there beside him. It wasn’t Glen in that bed. It was my friends and I felt awful for them because I know what they are going through.
“Mary (name changed),” I whispered. She looked up and immediately her eyes filled with empathy. “This is the same room that Glen was in.”
“Oh Laurel,” she said without getting up. “Is this too much for you?”
Yes! My mind screamed. Yes! This is all too much for me! We were supposed to grow old together. We were just beginning to enjoy life after kids want to leave and give you lots of time together kind of time. He was my life. He was my love. He was my best friend. He was someone I could spend every minute together with and never be bored with him or him with me. We adored each other…why God?…
“Please, just come,” I looked at my friend and spread my arms wide. This was not Glen. This was my friend and I guess I needed some exposure therapy. This room was bathed in prayer. It was fitting. The tears flowed as my friend embraced me in a hug. I think both of us were in tears. I forced myself to focus on my friend. We talked but I don’t think I was as encouraging as I had intended to be. This was really hard. I visited with them both – and he even woke up and recognized me, which was a really good sign. I prayed with them and smiled. I was feeling calmer.
“At least this room is bathed in prayer,” I said to them both. I gave him a kiss on the forehead because he was attached to many things so a little difficult to hug. He tried talking. Mary leaned in and spoke to him.
“Did you say you love her very much?” she smiled. “He’s been saying that to people that are special to him,” she added for my benefit.
He nodded. “Yes, something like that,” he said. He spoke quite clearly too.
I was touched. These were two incredibly special people and I pray that all goes well with them.
I said farewell and made my way out the door. What a day! I know that this all sounded awful…and really it was. But it was also beautiful in a very awful way. I was able to spend time with people that I love. I was able to focus on something other than Glen and paperwork, or my work (though I love it it’s nice to not focus on it.) I was given exposure therapy that I would have never agreed to had I been asked. My friends were in a room that was bathed in prayer. “Okay God. I don’t get any of this. The more I know the more I know I don’t know. You know best. About everything. I submit and I trust. I don’t get it but I choose to trust You again and again.”
I sighed, took another breath and left the hospital.