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Sally's Hope Chest
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After Thoughts
Random thoughts of an aggrieved widower

August 24, 2003. 
     Two days short of 4 months since Sally mercifully passed away.  I say mercifully because I know that was the only way for her to maintain some manner of dignity.  Seven  months bedridden, three of them in a drug induced coma, just to keep her stable.  Not until the end when I saw the life drain from her and the inevitable death rattle 30 minutes after they started tapering her  life supportive drugs, did  I realize she was supported by such a fragile combination of plastic tubes,  pumps and medicine.  
     There are only 6 of us left now; an equal number of people and animals.  No one knew each one of us better than Sally.  She is somewhere watching over us.   How can someone that was such a loving Mother be pulled away from what she loved most without some connection, no matter how indiscernible, to those left behind?  In retrospect I must believe this because Sally obtained that which was most desired by her when we met  20 years ago; a family of which she was the heart and center.    She wanted more but it just wasn't to be.  
     No one can ever explain how this can ever seem fair.  Time cannot and should not heal the loss of someone so loved.  It happens every day to someone somewhere.  It has happened and will happen until the end of time.  It seems that we are no better off than the animals and plants when it comes to death.  We all recycle, ashes to ashes and dust to dust.  The cycle of life and death is common to all life.   The spark of life does not come to inaminate objects but to creatures and life forms that start out as cells dividing and conquering the space alotted to them as they receive nutrition and grow into either huge oak or redwood trees or something as fragile as a tiny tubular plant on the bottom of the sea next to a heat spewing vent. 
     The spark of life coaxes minerals and chemicals into living forms that are constantly changing until the spark recedes back into the main stream from which it came and the remaining lifeless shell settles back into the earth. 

August 30, 2003


One day after my birthday.  I am sitting in the Holiday Inn in Bethlehem, Pa.  Four years ago I was here starting my new position in Bethlehem, Pa.  Sally would take me to the airport on Monday at 6:00 AM and pick me up on Friday.   We did this for 9 months.  I might have well been an over-the-road truck driver. 


The company allowed so many trips and Sally was looking after her Mother at the time so there were few opportunities for a weekend together.  I will never forget the weekend she was here with me when they have the Friday beach party.  They play oldies and have free hors' dorderves.  The DJ was playing  name that artist.  The song was Long cool woman in a Black Dress.  I whispered the Hollies into her ear and she ran up and won the prize.  I still have it.  A network recorded top hits collection of CDs that were used at a local radio station.  


I visited Mary today.  Mary is Sallys adopted Mother.  She was born in 1911.  She now resides in Gracedale Nursing home in Northhampton County, Pa.  The ninth floor tower, room D1, I was told by the Droopy look-alike behind the info counter.  

Droopy was a cartoon character that was obviously, droopy in the face. 


When I arrived on the floor a man wheeling his wife in a bed was waiting to get on the elevator.  I held the door and as she went by the elderly lady said thanks handsome, I replied, Youre welcome beautiful.  As I walked away I could hear her saying thank you; thank you.   


I saw her sitting just as Brittany and I saw her in February of this year.  Her hair was done in nice tight gray curls.  She held her hands folded in her lap and her dim grey eyes scanning back and forth looking for something to lock onto.  No small talk with her.  I got straight to the point and told her of Sallys passing.  Her facial expression changed a little into a surprised look.  I sat with her for  half hour and told her as much as I could think to tell her. 


As I left I hugged her and told her it would probably be the last time I would see her.  She said goodbye.  The first time I have heard her speak in some time.  I then crouched down and looked her in the eyes and I told her I loved her.  She said I love you back. 


The ninth and tenth floor of Gracedale is a warehouse of elderly women that lived full lives, loved, worked,  played, and raised families.  Now they sit and wait for their unscheduled demise.  Maybe someone should tell them it is ok to move on.  That is what I told Mary.