A Lifetime Together

She sat in the chair; her chair, facing the doorway. She looked comfortable, all of her stuff was nearby, the crossword book, remote control, a cool drink on a worn table. She stared  as I entered, focusing her fear and anger at me.

“She has Parkinsons, and has been forgetting things lately,” said her daughter. She was my age, pretty, looked a lot younger than she was, I suspected. She was troubled. A lot had happened in this room this morning, and the days leading up to it.

“I’m having a lot of trouble moving her,” said an elderly, frail guy, the woman in the chair’s husband. He shook as he spoke, only not from Parkinsons.

“She really is getting difficult, my dad has had chest pains all morning.”

“I don’t know what else to do,” said the man, apologetically. He avoided his wife’s icy glare.

I approached the lady. She set her jaw and continued to stare at her husband, then her daughter, then me.

“What is your name?”

“Eleanor.”

“We have to take you to the hospital.”

“Why?”

“I think you know why.”

She loosened her jaw, looked at the floor and simply shrank to half her size. We brought the stair chair over, picked her off of her chair and put her in ours. Then we carried her out of her front door, into the blazing late August heat, put her on the stretcher and took her away.

“She needs to be placed,” said the daughter, holding back tears. “My dad can’t take care of her anymore.”

“I’ll follow you,” said the old man.

“Meet us there, okay.”

“Okay.”

That was it. A lifetime together. Quiet times, arguments, sharing the bathroom, cooking, entertaining, raising a family. Living their lives.

It never fails to amaze me how quickly it all ends. I hate being part of it. They will forget the man that took her away within hours. The man will eventually forget, but not for a long time.

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