This Brief, Beautiful Moment

Your fingers were laced so tightly around your cane that your knuckles turned as white as the hair on your head. You, and I assume your son, also with streaks of white in his hair, waited in the hallway, just outside the door of the room your husband was in. Your husband was just brought back from a cardiac cath procedure and was surrounded by nurses hooking him up to the monitor. I stood at the door, trying to observe as much as I could without getting in the way and offered you a small smile, as a way to reassure you that everything was alright. You could go inside if you liked, I said.

Your son put his arm around your shoulder and gently steered you inside as I stepped out of the way. I left to grab some extra blankets and when I returned I found you sitting in a chair at his bedside, talking to him in hushed tones. He was awake, yet groggy from the sedation. His face was etched in as many lines as yours, his hair the same color of snow. And for a brief moment I wondered if you two had been together your entire lives.

As I laid the extra blanket on top of him, tucking the sheets under his feet, the exchange that occurred between the two of you just then was something I’ll remember forever.

“Did you remember to pack my clothes?”

“Not yet,” you replied. “The doctor wants to keep you overnight.”

“Then you should go home, get some rest.”

You placed your hand on his cheek. “I’m not going anywhere.”

He then took your hand and gently brought your fingers to his lips and kissed them tenderly.

That moment felt too beautifully intimate for my eyes and with my heart full I quickly looked away. I quietly stepped outside into the empty hallway and hastily wiped away at tears that were threatening to fall.

How lucky am I? To be in a profession that allows me to witness people at their most vulnerable, their souls stripped down to its rawest state… and every now and then I get to see something as beautiful and intimate as this. I get to witness love in one of its truest forms.