Have you ever held life in your hands? Chances are, you all have. Whether it be holding a small child or holding someone's hand, that is life. This fictional story I write to you all is based off something real, an experience I had recently.
Kay, a tall slender girl with brown hair, leaned up against the wall of 10E with her pen and paper. She wore black pants and a nice looking sweater with her volunteer badge around her neck. In her hands I could see a small round shaped object that she was balancing with a tiny book and a piece of paper that she was making notes on. As the pen was now being chewed lightly, I watched carefully as she scanned over the paper; it seemed to be a list of some sort. She snapped the cap on the pen and looked over her shoulder before knocking on the door in front of her. She poked her head in and I heard her say, “Ms. Dunn? Ellen?”
Kay made sure to shut the door ever so slightly behind her to my dismay. As I curiously stood there, I could hear the murmuring of the women in the room she had just entered. I slowly stepped near it and peered into the small window. They couldn’t see me because the blinds were almost shut, but I could see them just enough. I strained my ears to listen, or rather to eavesdrop on the conversation. I had to wonder just what Kay was doing there. “Oh, you are just in time!” I heard the older woman say. Did she know Kay? She supported herself on her elbows as she slowly sat up to greet Kay properly. Kay introduced herself and stated she was there as a Eucharistic Minister, to bring her Communion. I guess they didn’t know each other. Ellen responded joyfully and said, “Just what I needed.”
The voices became dull, but I could still see what was happening. Both of their smiles were still there and they looked very happy in each other’s company. Ellen pointed to the tattered chair that was over in the corner for Kay to bring to the side of the bed. Kay placed down her belongings on the small table and sat in the chair comfortably. I watched as both of them bowed their heads in prayer. I could see Ms. Dunn’s chest breathing slowly but with a lot of intent as her eyelids were shut tight. Kay had a very peaceful composure and gripped the little book she kept with her. This prayer didn’t take too long and after a minute or two, I saw them both open their eyes and smile again. Kay served her Communion from the gold round object I had mentioned earlier.
I didn’t pay too much attention to Kay; at this point I kept my eyes on Ellen. I watched her close her eyes once more and her lip quiver, putting out her hands. As she took the Host, I couldn’t tell if she was chewing or savoring the taste. Her eyes were still closed, the rising and falling of her chest was visible. Kay put her hand on her shoulder and said, “Peace be with you, Ellen.” Kay stood up from her chair as she gathered her things together in the same bundle as she had it when she walked in. I saw her move towards the end of the bed, almost to make her way to the door. I thought I was caught, that she would find out I had been watching. I knew nurses should never eavesdrop like I was, but I was so intrigued. She didn’t notice me because Ms. Dunn opened her eyes quickly and looked at Kay longingly, as if she had to tell her something. Kay walked back over to the side of the bed as Ms. Dunn opened her mouth to speak, but there weren’t any words. I saw the two tears coming down her cheeks. They didn’t just roll right off, the tears took their time crossing over the planes of her few wrinkles before I heard Ms. Dunn say, “I am about to go into my second surgery with in the last two days.” Hearing this, Kay slowly sat down next to her with a look of compassion as she took Ellen’s words and felt each one.
Ms. Dunn went on to confess, “There is no one here with me and even though I had surgery the other day, I am so scared.” I couldn’t imagine what Kay would say next, these situations are so hard to deal with, as frequent as they do happen. Kay closed her eyes and said, “I’m so sorry, Ellen,” as she took Ms. Dunn’s hand in hers. It was a tender embrace, just their fingers clutching one another’s. Kay brought her other hand to hold Ellen’s in between hers. My heart ached for these two women in this room as a few more tears streamed down Ellen’s face. It was a peaceful, but sad cry because she knew what she had to face. Kay took a deep breath, still holding hands with Ellen and said, “It’s going to be okay, I understand you are scared, but we are here together and I have faith in you. He is with us, this is a sign that you have incredible strength and He is going to help you through this, Ellen.” In response, Ellen nodded as she looked at Kay with glossy hazel eyes and asked her to wait with her until the nurses came to retrieve her for surgery. Kay smiled and laughed a little bit as she held Ellen’s hand tighter and said, “Of course I will.” Ellen’s tears stopped after the last of them reluctantly jumped off the edge of her chin to her gown. Both had smiles on their faces now and I felt the comfort from outside of the room there. I pulled myself away from the window, leaning against the wall, bowed my head now too and said a little prayer of thanksgiving to myself.
As today, Thanksgiving is upon us, I hope each and every one of you takes the time to really appreciate all that you have, especially your family and your loved ones. I ask that we keep those in need of a prayer in our hearts. You never know how big of a difference the tiniest thing can make.