I was a bit in the dumps a couple of weeks ago that's for sure. I was broke, single, bruised, and missed my family in my period of vulnerability to the extent that I started searching for jobs in Vermont in anticipation of moving back asap.
Life has a funny way of setting you back on course. Maybe it was my hypersensitive mood that drove me to notice certain situations around me but what was laid out before me made me realize, once again, my life does not suck.
Not in the least.
As I tried to skirt out of the ICU on my way to the next unit I stopped in my tracks at the sight of an elderly couple in the ICU. I tried to look as though I wasn't some peeping tom, but couldn't help but gaze at them for a bit. Both grey haired, in their late 80's, feeble and wrinkled but composed and proud in a non assuming way... for some reason his face while he looked at her made me want to watch. He was in bed, she weighed about 98 pounds and was propping him up, literally pulling a man twice her size into a sitting position. She smoothed his hair back as he tried to catch his breath, she was obviously exhausted as well but smiled at him in a way that made him smile back automatically. They spoke for a minute, he reached up to touch her face and she grasped his hand as he did so and helped him hold it to her cheek. And they held that position for minute, not saying anything, just looking at one another. Then she proceed to spoon feed him some soup she made him. Slowly, while talking about God knows what. He smiled at her after every spoonful. They both had a look of desperation, fear, contentment, uncertainty and love on their faces the whole time.
I couldn't stand there forever and left the unit but that scene was replaying in my head all day.
I went back the next day and the room was empty. I thought maybe he had been down graded to telemetry and did a little research; I really wanted to just say "hello" to them, but no, he had died.
I tried for one moment to fathom what that woman was feeling. I had a glimpse into their world, a couple of minutes of what I think was true love. And I don't use that phrase lightly. I couldn't bear to be be empathetic at all - my heart ached just thinking about how she had to sleep alone for the first time in almost 60 years and how she may feel without him in her world anymore. It would be as if your world lost all color and warmth and you were wandering around in a cold, lonely and confused state. Maybe she handled it differently, but I don't think so. It's the same reason elderly couple die within weeks of each other.
You lose half of yourself when the person you have been with and loved for decades dies.
And that's when I realized that the crap, and the drama, and the silly issues that I thought made me such a sad and pathetic case... were really peanuts in comparision to what other people may be going through or have to live through on a daily basis.
I am one of the lucky ones, I have a lot to be greatful for... I just hope one day I am as lucky as that couple.