It was a long day at the hospital. I was alone.
It felt like the weight became mine to bear and it felt heavier when I was by myself.
I hated being alone.
He didn’t know who I was. On so many levels, it made me feel more alone.
The nurse came in to change him.
I walked out of the room and down the hall.
I needed to find a place to rest. I needed oxygen – if for only 5 minutes.
I found a little room down the hall with the words “Consult Room” on the door.
I pushed the door open and found no one in there.
Honestly, I was grateful. I wasn’t up to pleasantries. I didn’t want to talk to random strangers. My life had just flipped upside down and inside out. I was holding on by a thread.
The peacefulness of a quiet room ended within a few minutes.
Three people walked in. It was a mother, father, and their adolescent son. One of them asked me if it was okay if they came in and sat. I knew what it meant to find a place when you needed a place, despite my wanting to not share the space.
“Yeah, that’s fine. I’m just waiting here.”
The last thing I wanted to do was make small-talk. Yet, it began…
I probably initiated, though I don’t actually remember.
They asked me who I was visiting. I explained the situation. I probably went into too much detail. I usually do.
I learned that their young daughter had a tumor. The surgery went well. They removed the tumor. They found it because they noticed a large growth that kept growing on the side of her neck. They were beyond grateful it wasn’t cancer. They were taking her home in the morning.
I remember being envious of that… “taking her home in the morning”.
I had been at the hospital long enough that I knew my way around and was often helping people with directions. The ladies in the lobby that checked ID’s, no longer needed to ask who I was there to see; they knew the name and the floor.
They asked me where I was from. I told them about an hour away.
I learned that they were from my neighboring county.
We chatted for about 20 minutes, until they could go in and see their daughter. She had just gotten out of surgery.
I sat there for a few minutes in silence when they left. I thought about the journey I was on. I thought about how quickly life can flip upside down. I wondered how their lives had been changed, if at all. I thought about stories like their’s, albeit different endings. I wish I had asked them if they realized the grace they received.
I returned to see my father.
Around 9 pm, visiting hours were over. He had been sleeping most of the time I was there. I quietly slipped out and took the elevator down to the lobby.
As I stepped out of the elevator, I ran into the three individuals I had chatted with in the consult room. They had left at the same exact time and took another elevator down. We walked into the hall at the same moment.
The father told me to hang in there. The mother came up to me and gave me a hug. She also said, “Don’t let go Christine.”
Sometimes we get what we need in life, not always what we want, but often what we need…
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