as i ready your bed, you ask me why you are still alive. i sit on your bed, facing you in your wheelchair. i can see in your eyes that you want me to answer this question. everything i can think of in response seems so far from adequate. so, i just look into your sleepy eyes. you say that they are all gone, everyone you have ever known and loved, all your family, your only brother, your only son and his only child. you ask if i think there is a god, a heaven, if you really get to meet up again with your lost loved ones. you say you are ready to die, in a" i'm just done here way." you say it's been years since you had a proper hug. this hurts me a bit because i hug you the three or four nights a week that i help you to bed. and, i think you see it in my face and you say that you get hugs, but that in a wheelchair, you can't get a real arms wrapped around you hug. you say you miss good hugs the most. so, i get someone to help me sit you on the side of your bed and kneel in front of you and wrap my arms around your small fragile frame and i feel your arms go around me and you squeeze with all of you. i feel the rapid rhythm of your respirations slow to catch the cadence of mine. your hair still smells of the perm you got on wednesday. i can hear the soft whispers at the door to your room. someone knocks. several of the staff are outside. the cute little dark haired girl comes in, the one everyone calls bitsy. she says we heard there was some hugging going on in here and we were wondering if we could get in on it. you sniffle and i draw back to see tears running down your pale cheeks and a smile on your face. one by one, they come in and hug you. real hugs, proper hugs, another's arms wrapped around you hugs.
when i look in on you before i go, you are lying there, still awake, still with tears running down your cheeks. you say you are alright before i ask. you say i think i will just cry myself to sleep. but, you say not to worry. these are the good kind of tears.
i am off for the weekend and when i come back monday, your room is empty. and, i am hoping there is a god, a heaven, reunions with lost loved ones. and hugs, lots of hugs.