Monday, February 14, 2011

Last Valentine

     I gingerly placed my stethoscope upon his chest, listening to his heart and lungs. He wasn't supposed to be contagious, but I couldn't be sure. He looked as handsome as a comatose 87-year-old man with a tube down his trachea could manage. The hospital staff had fallen in love with him.  They didn't need family members to sell his status. They were desperately trying to rewrite the ending of his story. 

      Harold and his wife of 60-years were inseparable. They owned a little home on the beach, and remained active in their retirement. Harold and Emily were almost always together. Last week Emily began feeling ill. It was probably stomach flu. The next day her condition worsened. By that afternoon, Harold brought Emily to the hospital, where she died suddenly in the ER.  Harold's blood culture produced that same virulent strain of bacteria. It is just days before her funeral.

     I cannot begin to understand cosmic irony. Perhaps I have connected too many dots of their relationship over the past 60 years.  I know there is an aspiration of love that transcends all of the flowers, diamond rings and romance novels. It is a love that cannot be encapsulated in a television drama. This is a love for which it may take a lifetime to know.

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