As I walked to the hallway flanked by benches and beautiful sculture wallart. It was towards the end of the day and most of the people walking the hallways were employees of the hospital leaving work. That is when I noticed them— the elderly couple by one of the benches. The wife, clearly undergoing some sort of treatment was sitting while the husband was putting a sweater over her shoulders. As I walked by them, she looked up and I said “Hello”, expecting her to say “Hello” back as most of us would do and leaving it at that. But instead she gave me the brightest smile and said “Hello, how are you doing today?”. I was on my way to work, sore from the gym, cranky and I still had one of the boys football games. But instead of making a quick exit, I stopped and said “I am doing good, a little tired and still have to go to a game tonight with one of the boys”.
As I am saying the words, my mind is thinking “Do you think she cares? Are you really complaining about life when she is clearly having health problems? How selfish are you?” and I was starting to feel awful when they both nodded and giggled.
“Oh, we remember those days…” and they started laughing sweetly as if suddenly they were trasnported to another time in their lives, when they experienced the same. She asked me what I did at the hospital and I told her what I did and that I had started this new job only 4 weeks ago. After we introduced each other, Violet and Frank (I will use these name to protect their anonimity) proceeded to tell me about her intense treatment and how she was so thankful for the care she received at the hospital. We also talked about caregiving, and how hard it was. I shared with them that I had been my dad’s caregiver when he was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years ago, and completely understood what he was going through.
Frank said to me “It has been a hard journey BUT her recovery has been possible because God is with us. We have people praying all across this nation for us. When we started dealing with this we knew the only way to overcome this would be to put everything in God’s hands. And now, she has almost made a full recovery”. As he said these words, he had the most amazing bright smile on his face; Violet did too. And I thought “Here are two people with complete faith in God’s plans and miracles”. Frank took Violet’s hand and gently patted it and she smiled with all this love in her eyes. So much that thinking about it now gives me goosebumps.
We talked some more and after about another 10 minutes, we said our goodbyes. As I was leaving, Violet said to me “I love your smile. Always keep smiling”. At the exit of the hallway I turned around and saw Frank walking with Violet, his left hand on the small of her back, supporting her as she slowly walked to the elevators with the assistance of her cane. And I stood there. Before I knew it, prayers for Violet and Frank started flowing from my lips in whispers. I could not stop so I let them flow while I made my way to the parking ramp.
On my way home I kept thinking about this lovely couple and thanked God I met them. You see, for the past two years (out of the 5 years we have been married), but especially the past couple of months, my stepmotherhood journey with my stepdaugther has been so trying that it has put a tremendous amount of strain in me and has made me wonder at times if being in this marriage is all worth it. I know this is where God wanted me because I prayed hard on this. I love my husband so much, but unless you have been in the stepmom role, you cannot understand how hard it is. That morning, before I met Violet and Frank, I had been talking to God in my car— close to tears— asking him why he was giving me such a hard life.
Go ahead and chuckle. I did when I remembered this sitting in my car. There is nothig that put life into perspective quite like life and death. Because yes, The challenge we are experiencing with my stepdaughter is so crushing, but at the end of the day my life is not on the line. I have my husband (who is the most supportive man in the world), my other two stepsons who are great, I have a job I love, my health, food, clothing and so much more in my life—all gifts from God. And maybe Violet and Frank did too but unlike me, they have to deal with the possibility of her illness coming back and threatening her life.
I feel so blessed by this encounter. Violet and Frank were like two angels sent to remind me that not only is my life NOT “hard” but also to remind me of the commitment I made to my husband when I married him. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. The challenge, I find, is remembering those promises when life just seems like it’s drowning you. When I got home, I walked through the door and kissed my husband. Smiling he asked “What was that for?’ since he has been feeling my tensions too, and I replied “For Violet and Frank, baby. I will tell you later about them”. And I did.
Note: For my fellow FMF writers— yes this was probably around 9 mins. so technically not 5 mins. but once I started writing I couldn’t stop. It was just rushing out of me like the prayers for Violet and Frank kept flowing out of my lips in the story above; so my apologies for exceeding my time. But I figured it was ok to post since the purpose this FMF party was originally started was to get us inspired to write. 😊