Many Years

They sat in the chair next to me in the cancer center yesterday. She was dressed in blue from her polyester skirt to her wig of blue-gray hair. His walk was slow, stoop-shouldered and weary; his bald head bent down. The blood pressure cuff on her arm buzzed and hissed every few minutes while she was monitored through her treatment. He tucked her warm blanket around her now and then, ministering care to her whenever he saw need.

He sat on the arm of her chemo chair, not bothering to pull a stool over for himself. He would rather bear his own discomfort in order to be close to her. At times he would lean forward and kiss her forehead and they would share a secret smile. Teary-eyed I watched them through my own port-a-cath battle. She would occasionally look over to me, our eyes would meet, and I saw her tenderness, her agony at my pain.

I left the treatment room at one point to meet with my doctor, and when I returned, the nurses were behind a curtain finishing up with her, flushing her port, removing her cuff. He sat outside the fabric wall on the edge of the plain blue chairs. His eyes never left her curtain, watching, waiting, knotted hands clutching his tweed hat. As the curtain open I heard the nurse say, “Congratulations on your last treatment!”

The man lept to his feet with a grace that belied his age and he was immediately at her side, helping her with her coat, whispering to her words only she could hear. They shared another smile. This one held relief. And they slowly walked towards the door of the treatment center, his hand never leaving her back. They nodded to the nurses and waved good-bye to an acquaintance across the room. Then she stopped. She turned, looked back at me, and smiled. “God bless you.” She moved to go, then stopped again. “I heard you talk of your family with the nurses.” she said, “May you have many years with them.”

Then they were gone. Holding hands out the door.

l thought about the many years they had obviously shared together, and I prayed they would have many more.

And I sat in my chair and cried, and I asked God again, as I have so many times, “Please, Lord, let me have many years with my Brian. Please let me grow old with this man.”

6 responses to “Many Years”

  1. Angie I pray too that you will have many, many, many years with your Brian. That you’ll grow old with him and sit on a big front porch in your rocking chairs 😉 with a glass of sweet tea, all the while watching your many grandchildren running around! That’s my ideal (in case you didn’t guess 🙂

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  2. Seeing couples of the older generation still madly in love gets me every time.

    I love the song by Brad Paisley: Waiting on a Woman. Here’ the you-tube video with Andy Griffith guest starring.

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  3. what a beautiful beautiful story!
    i can only imagine the raw emotion you must have felt as you sat in that chair and cried, and how many times you must have felt that over the past year. then i see you at school with a big smile on your face and realize what an Awesome God we have!

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  4. This entry is one of the reasons I love and admire you, Angie. You notice other people in the midst of your own trial. You are able, not only to notice them and put the pieces of their lives together through a vignette, but also to turn around and pour out blessing on the rest of us with your edifying words and heart of love. Thank you, Angie, and know that this aging wife (40 years this past Aug.) is indebted to you for your example in the arena of suffering, having been made a spectacle to the world…oh, how you’re using it, and how He’s using you, dearest one!

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  5. “On the porch, many years from now you will sit on the swing, I will sit in the chair, and the fragrance of lilacs will hang in the air. I will tell you a story I’ve told you before. We will laugh (like the last time) and tell a few more. Then perhaps we will say it and perhaps we will not, but both our old hearts will be thinking this thought-that it’s good to be known, and it’s good to be there, where the fragrance of lilacs hangs in the air.” I still don’t know how you found this card for my birthday with the perfect words to describe us together.

    I pray for many years for you with your dear husband and your precious children and yes, selfishly, me too, and I praise God for today, this moment, the gift of knowing you and being known.

    CRYING!!! LOVE YOU!

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  6. That was a beautiful, very moving story. I pray that you have many years with your Brian, too.

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