Last week in the hospital I sat with a 71-year-old man who wanted to “gaff” (slang for casual talking, and slang is cool!). I sat with him for the better part of an hour at the side of his bed as he told me about his 13 children, his 36 grandchildren and his 8 great-grandchildren. He also told me the recipe and instructions for concocting a handful of different “bush treatments” hes used throughout his life. I didn’t know half of what he was talking about, but I sat and nodded along. After a while I noticed he had his eyes closed but was still talking and I asked if he wanted me to leave to let him sleep. He said “no no no!”, but within five minutes he had talked himself to sleep.
Later in the week I spent time with a 10-year-old girl in her room. Her name was Brianna, and had a younger brother named Brian, which are the names of my sister-in-law and her younger brother. We talked about animals that she liked, her favorite things to do, her pet fish at home, and played cards. I taught her how to play Go Fish and we played at least five games together. When it was time for me to leave she hugged me, kissed me on the cheek and asked her mom if I could go home with her later that day.
Each Monday at Mercy Wings a student comes to sit with me during lunch. He’s very shy and not good at holding any sort of conversation, so we don’t typically talk. We just sit and eat our lunches and then he says “bye Miss” and goes outside.
For these three people I haven’t done anything besides be present and acknowledge their similar presence. None of it makes me physically exhausted or emotionally drained like we’re told “work” is supposed to. It just makes me feel human and glad to be.
And here’s a song I can’t get outta my head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rKpmzRdWrs