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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mailbox and Beyond


John and Carol have been married for forty-five years. They were friends in high school and started dating in college. They got married after college and their marriage was blessed with two boys. I met the couple in the assisted-living facility where I work a weekend shift. Their story is interesting and unique because John lives in his own room in the facility on the second floor and Carol has her own room on the first floor of the same facility. John eats in the dining room with the rest of the residents and Carol eats in her room alone. Two or three nights a week they see each other and have dinner together in the dining room. They are fun to watch during their together dinner time as they talk, laugh, and tease each other like children. But at the end of the night they sleep in their own rooms-alone.


One afternoon Carol asked me to take her to the facility mailboxes to pick up her mail. She shares a mailbox in the facility with John however, Carol picks up the mail. Once the mail is sorted she asks me to hand deliver John's personal mail to his room. Each time she would see an envelope for John she would make a funny face-it was so cute to watch her. I am curious but never ask what happened so they can not live together. I know it must be sensitive to both of them. So I assist her back to her room and deliver John's mail to him.


 
John is a fine gentleman and he has the sweetest smile. I see a couple of the ladies in the facility throw a look at him every time he is eating alone in the dining room. A couple of them would sometime join him for dinner if Carol is not around.

Two weeks ago when I showed up for work my co-workers gave me some sad news that John suffered a massive heart attack and died in the emergency room. Carol was with him when he breathed his last breath. John's passing was unexpected and the news brought tears to a lot of residents in the facility. Immediately I went to Carol's room to express my sympathy. We talked for a little bit and she asked me again to take her to the residential mailboxes to check the mail. She had a sad look on her face and I saw tears rolling down her cheek when she saw a card addressed to John. She kept all of the envelopes and asked me to take her back to her room. When we arrived at her room I gave her a hug and walked away. The real story on why they lived separate lives in their final days rests now with only one of them. Maybe it is best this way.

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Submitted by Chay for TSS


 




4 comments:

  1. oh God, I feel very sad after reading this.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Nagvee for reading this story. I still feel sad every time I see the corner where the old gentleman used to sit.

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  2. Chay, thanks for sharing this very touching story, like Naqvee, I too feel so sad after reading this.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Beth, when you work with the older gen, you ran into all kinds of stories, some sad, some good ones.

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