Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Room 241

"I would just like to find out if my sister is OK too"
she said through purple bruised lips 

Same color as the scarf I had just given my grandmother
on new years eve before she started to have chest pains
could not catch her breath

Her dark eyes sunk back into her head
with retreat and worry and pain
Her skin was porcelain
as if shock had just set in
Her hair a red shock of wild that twisted around
her small frail frame
my grandmother's roommate
room 241
It was the 5th or 6th  time I had been there to visit
and still she sits alone on the other side of the curtain
no visitors coming to see her as of yet that I know of
Scared and alone
and it frightened me
so I retreated
didn't ask the questions that rose from my chest
what about your sister
what happened to you
tell me who you are
why are you here alone
left to deal with your obvious agony
all by yourself
didn’t ask the questions that stuck in my throat

I thought of her as I walked through the grocery store
selecting bright pink flowers for my grandmother
who so deserves my love and affection

Hair on fire deserves love and affection too
so I pick out some white ones
with sparkles on the petals
I hoped they would bring healing
I hoped they would bring peace
I hoped they would bring her people to her
I still think of her now
Ashamed of my fear
as if it was even possible for her to harm anyone
Ashamed of the trite goodbyes
we all gave her as we left the room
Ashamed of the goodbye I wanted to
but did not give her
Ashamed of not reaching out
the way that I should have
Ashamed of my inability to change her life
or give her hope

My grandmother was afraid too 

Why didnt I behave the way that I wanted to
Why didn’t I choose to be the example
of how one should behave
I should have took her hand
I should have looked her in the eyes
I should have wished her peace
and good
and love
and a fast recovery
as her twin sister finally sat in the corner chair
bent and crooked with osteoporosis
looking up at me sweetly from the same deep sunken eyes
neatly cut bangs
soft and gentle demeanor
A missed opportunity to see them as they were
in that present moment
the way that I see them now
I didn’t even recognize that they were twins
I missed the opportunity
my vision was clouded 
by discomfort and self limitation
by my fears of the unknown
my fears of being asked for something extra
in my state of tired
from caring for my momentarily ailing grandmother
I sensed that this woman had a long road ahead of her
in a life that may not have very much road left

Just like my grandmother

How many times will I look in the rearview mirror
2020 vision is blurred by neck pain anyway
from looking over your shoulder all the time

How long before I let go of the should
and just have the moment
I am tired of limiting myself for the comfort of others
I'm tired of being afraid 
I am tired of being tired
so instead of a possible connection
she is yet another lesson

the test never looks like I think it's going to 
Twin sisters in a hospital room
long locked
bent and worn 
gentle and timid 
quiet and inquisitive
respectful and yearning
within arms reach
God has many clever disguises
and to touch each other souls
is nothing to be afraid of

and neither is my grandmother