Marty felt like all the love he had given his wife was in vain. Her name was Vannah and she didn't remember any of it. Her crackly old voice just complained all day long as she walked back and forth in their assisted living apartment. Every now and then, however she would have a moment of clarity and he would see her bright mind and kindness shine through again. The way she used to be.
But those moments were becoming so rare that he was forgetting that was how she really was.
And she wasn't doing well physically lately either. The help was having to bathe her and help her go to the bathroom. She had been in her bed most of the days lately. Last week the doctor said her body was winding down and this week seemed even worse. When she was awake she complained about him, about her kids not coming home from school on time, about the non-existent cassarole burning because the oven was always getting too hot.
He felt like she had pretty much forgotten how it used to be. How good things had been. He wondered if how hard they had worked to have a good life had been in vain. He tried to tell himself she was just venting her unconscious frustration of not being able to be her old self.
The help stepped into the doorway from Vannah's bedroom and said, "Marty, Vannah would like you to come in."
This surprised him. These days nothing stopped her from yelling stuff at him from the bedroom. Maybe this was a bad sign? Was she too weak?
He pulled himself up from his recliner and waddled into her bedroom. She was sitting up on the opposite side of her bed. She smiled at him and beckoned him to come to her. He went to her and knelt down to look into her face.
She smiled and tilted her head. Her eyes glistened. She brushed his face with her hand and said, "Marty, I want to bless you." There was a sadness in her smile. "Thank you for all of these years loving me."
His lip began to quiver.
She said, "Thank you for your patience and your kindness. You have always been so kind to me. Thank you for loving our children so well. I always admired your way with them. Thank you for working so hard so our family could live comfortably. Thank you for taking me on our Sunday drives."
He nodded, remembering those drives. He squeezed her hand as they looked into each others' eyes.
He sat with her a while longer and then laid next to her on the bed until she fell asleep. That was their last good day. She was gone within the week. But it was okay. He knew none of it was in vain.
(This inspired by a true story)
Your kindness is not in vain.
Raw Spoon, 1-29-2021