I find her in her bedroom, sitting in a wheelchair in front of a big window. She is up close to the window panes intently looking out. I pull up a chair and lightly touch her arm. She looks at me and smiles. I tell her who I am. I always have to tell her who I am. I ask her what she is looking at and she says the cars going by. She looks at me a second longer and returns to staring out the window. I sit in silence. We have always been comfortable in silence.
I can hear the ticking of the second hand of the large white clock on the wall. The walls are high in this quaint victorian bedroom. The floor is a rich dark mahogany, along with the door and window frame. The clock keeps ticking, only now it sounds louder. I look at her tight gray curls and the moss green shawl that covers her shoulders. I watch her fingers play with the long fringe.
I look over at the old silver radiator as it comes to life hisses and clanging. The big house always seems to be cold, even in April. I can still hear the ticking clock amid the hissing and rattling of pipes. I hear the echo of voices from somewhere in the back of the house.
By the window there is a small table with half a dozen framed pictures displayed. All the people in the photographs are long gone, but she knows them all. There is one picture of a red cardinal perched on a branch covered with white, pinkish apple blossoms. Whoever took the photograph used a telephoto lens. It looks professionally done with the soft blurred background. She has told me before that she loves birds.
The ticking clock sounds even louder as I sit next to her writing. I hear my pen scratching across paper leaving soothing words behind. She has fallen asleep. I close my notebook and put my pen away. It is time to go.
(I am a hospice worker traveling from home to home. Along the way, I meet special people and would like to share those moments.)