Love & Inspiration From the Geriatric Wing

Corridor aspect, sign above denotes Geriatric Ward at Mount St. Joseph's HospitalWhile at the ER tonight with my elderly godparents, I couldn’t help but admire their zest for life, love (of the unspoken kind, actions not words) and principals, despite my godfather experiencing heart failure, fluid in his lungs and swelling from torso to toes. His role was ever the traditional protector and provider and he wouldn’t admit to being ill, completely denied all his symptoms. Luckily, god-mom is just as stubborn (never one to be a damsel in distress, she is fiercely independent, seniors ping pong and badminton champion) as he is and took him into the ER sooner rather than later, and was able to undergo treatment just in time.

At the hospital I observed many a tender moment. These moments had nothing to do with the obvious signs of affection however. Love knows no boundaries, knows no shame. This is what I saw and learned.

Bedpans and wipes, my godmother is there. She can’t eat until she sees him eating well. She sleeps only after he falls into slumber. She diligently watches over him and tends to his personal needs, only leaving after visiting hours to sleep at home and rising early in the morning to take her post by his bedside. And yet, my godfather will ask her how she is doing and attempts to distract her from worries with trivial conversation.

Anyone who knows them knows how much my godmother is normally spoiled by my godfather. Responsible to a fault, respected and stoic in character, he doted on her in his own strong and unspoken manner, reading her mind mostly. He drove her everywhere and took her up on every whim, consulted her for most domestic decisions. They never had children, not because they didn’t want to, but because they unfortunately couldn’t.

Enter me. Blessed from the womb, I became their goddaughter even before I could see the world. And I’m glad to bear witness to their old-fashioned love story; one that has survived Cultural Revolution, immigration, long distances apart, and family crises that seemed to only happen around them, but never affect them because of their strength and true consideration for one another. To my gratitude journal I write how grateful I am to be a part of their journey and to be inspired by their devotion to one another.

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