LIVING TO BE LOVED

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By   T.B. Knight

A woman recently buried her husband of fifty years. She had known and loved him since she was a child and, although he was twenty years her senior,  she couldn’t wait until she was old enough for him to notice her, love her, and ask her to be his wife. He did and, even though he was much older, she still wanted to bear his child or as many children he wanted because they would be a part of him and she wanted so much to please him and be surrounded with his love.  And, she did, and it was a boy, their only child, and she loved him; and the boy grew into a young man, and when he smiled his eyes smiled as well; it was that same friendly warm smile that she loved so dearly; and she saw her beloved in the face of her son; and she loved him very much and was happy, that  is,  until the day he married and moved far away so his wife could be closer to her family.  And so the woman looked about her home and saw how empty it had become, and she cleaned her son’s bedroom, which now would be a guest room, but there were no guests. There was only the woman and her husband, who was beginning to forget things, and soon he’d forget her, because that’s what Alzheimer’s does, and she accompanied him to the Doctor’s office, and they were told that the disease was worsening, but she knew that already because he couldn’t remember her name. She was told he would need twenty-four hour care and wouldn’t a nursing home be easier for her, but she declined and told the Doctor she would care for him, herself. And she did, and for a year she dressed, fed, cleaned, and put to bed her beloved, who didn’t know her, but she knew him, and then one morning she woke and found him  still sleeping, and he didn’t open his eyes, and he wouldn’t, ever again. And she buried her love and then she tidied her home  and carefully hung his suits and ties next to her dresses in the bedroom closet. Then, she went into her small living room, sat in the high winged back chair, her husband’s chair, and waited.