We found ourselves there time and time again. Sometimes the visits were planned and scheduled. A major surgery. A procedure. Other times there was an emergency and he traveled by ambulance. I raced in my car behind. Always there was stress and uncertainty and fear.
Medical facilities stir up many different emotions for me. I went with him to every appointment. Every chemo, every radiation, every treatment, every procedure, every surgery. It wasn't a burden. It was what you do when you care deeply for someone and just want to be there loving them through it.
As the one who was always waiting I found myself often wandering. Wandering to the chapel, wandering to the cafeteria, wandering down the hallways. But it seems I wandered most to the gift shop. It was a place to get away and see people, see happy things, buy a nice skin lotion or something that was needed. Buy a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Seems we were always in the hospital around Christmas time and the gift shop had Starbuck's Christmas Blend brewing. It became my favorite.
As I wandered into the gift shop time and time again I connected with one kind lady in particular who worked there. We would chat and she began to learn my story. She would ask about Edd and she cared. She was happy to see me each visit, but would give me that look that conveyed compassion and, "uh oh, are you here again? What is going on?" I would reveal to her the latest and she would say kindly ... "I just made a fresh pot of Christmas Blend ... "
Months might go by, but then we'd find ourselves back at the hospital again. Edd up in a hospital room... and me wandering. Wandering to the gift shop and to that kind lady who was still there. She would immediately give me that knowing look and we'd chat a while. She was a sweet spirit in a dark period for me.... an encouragement during a really rough time. Actually many rough times.
And that's one reason I'm volunteering now. At all places the gift shop at the same hospital. I've chosen the hospital that is closest to my home, but we found ourselves at that one too from time to time. It's still a little hard for me being there in the hospital, but I'm working through it.
I want to give back. I want to give back in a caring environment. I want to have the opportunity to "see" someone else who might be hurting and afraid like I was. People like that are all around us. Like some wise soul said to me this morning, "there is no shortage of folks going through or gonna go through where we have already been."
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a
listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which
have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia