Several months have passed since Chick entered the rehab, aka nursing home. Louise continues to visit him diligently and dutifully, though Chick’s condition continues to deteriorate and there are more bad days then good.
Today, Chick was asleep for most of her visit, but that does not detour Louise from gently caressing his forehead and cupping his chin to look into his face. Her furrowed brow and tight lipped grimace, soften as Chick opens his eyes from time to time. Louise eagerly tries to talk with Chick but the moments are quickly gone with his silent return to sleep and her face falls once again. Seldom looking away from his face, Louise continues to wait for an opportunity to communicate with her love.
In the months since Chick has been away, many celebrations and occasions have been made new with the haunted memories of what once was. Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went without Chick at the table and the couple celebrated sixty-six years of marriage. In the quiet of the empty house, Louise is often brought back to memories of when the house was full of people and happiness. When house guests were plenty and the kitchen was always warm. Today, the kitchen is littered with unopened mail and the sink holds one lone glass and plate from Louise’s breakfast.
As Louise continues to wait for an opportunity to connect with Chick, the clock ticks on and her visiting time comes to an end. “He doesn't look so good” she mutters seemingly to herself as she straightens his blankets and fixes his hair, most likely talking to the God she feels doesn't hear her right now. She often calls out in the night, asking what she has done to deserve this, why does He want her to suffer. The night is filled with a thick silence. “I will be back tomorrow, Chick” she says to the still body that was once her restless, active husband. Chick does not move. Louise bends over and gives him a kiss good-bye and as she stands to go, her face crumbles and her eyes well with tears. With each step away, she stops and turns back in hopes that Chick has awaken and all is well again. The departure is painful and it shows on her face. “Chick is on his way out,” she remarks and slowly, tearfully and torn she returns to the empty house that was once their home.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. - Psalm 23:4