HOSPICE – a guest post by Lori Soneson Odhner

Lori & her husband, John, are the tender holders of the marriages in our local church – they seem like one angel more than two heart-graced humans.  She wrote this beautiful tribute about a married couple I’ve known all my life; song birds who embody virtues to which I aspire, yet they never seemed puffed up.  They breathe love.

John and I went to sit with a woman whose husband of sixty six years is dying. I say dying as if it is permanent. But death is as much of a ruse as the sun coming up this morning. That golden orb couldn’t rise because it didn’t actually sink down. The sun does not revolve around us. Never has.

The wife who has lived and loved and laughed with one precious man for two thirds of a century can barely leave his side to go to sleep. Only after she has tucked him in, kissed his sallow cheek, and recited the prayer loud enough for both of them, can she shuffle to the elevator and push the button. Turn the ignition and drive home. Except that home is where her husband is. And he is on the third floor, eyes closed, just past a sign that has that final sounding hush.


Probably there have been very few midnights that they were not side by side. Maybe a couple dozen. But now she is thrust into the entryway of widowhood. She must learn to make one sandwich. Pour one glass of juice. Not call into the other room with a question. Sleep in the middle of the bed.

There are pictures in their apartment of the two of them. Photographs of white weddings, and pink cheeked grandchildren in their laps. Proof of their trips to Singapore, and Alaska, England, and Vermont. Snapshots of them cross country skiing in their seventies, with arms still strong enough to push the poles across the glistening snow of upstate New York. Family portraits with his kind eyes crinkled in song.

Yet pictures will never be enough.

Their son sat with us by the bed, and he picked up the guitar. His fingers knew their way across the fret board, while his low voice crooned the words of what was happening right before us.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life,
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Black bird fly, black bird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

I can only imagine what he will feel like when his eyes open like orbs, and his spirit takes flight beyond the horizon. Yet part of him will be looking over his shoulders, now supple, waiting for her to come too.

Heaven would not be heaven without her.



Author: auntdeev

playfulness coach, life enthusiast & general instigator, ENTJ, cat lover

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