I've encountered many elderly widows who were living at home alone throughout my short medical career. In the past two months in ED alone, I have had multiple memorable encounters that left me pondering life, thanking God for all that I have in the present as well as feeling very blessed to have had a kind stranger open up to me about something so close to their hearts.
"It's my wife's engagement ring," he said as he pointed to the ring he wore around his neck.
"She asked me to take care of it when she couldn't anymore. We were married for over 50 years. She was a really good wife.. And now that I can't drive anymore, how will I go and see her? I like to go visit her, just to have a chat and all."
He broke out into heavy sobs.
"I loved her so much."
"I loved her so much."
"I moved here from New York all those years ago when I was working as a model. Sold all my designer clothes and bought a plane ticket. And if I never did, I would never have met the handsome Australian man that was the love of my life.
Every morning I wake up and look at his photo and have a chat with him. "It's all your fault!," I'd say. "What did I do?" "Well you up and died and left me all alone, that's what you did!"
But, he was a good man, he really was. And I do miss him so."
With both her broken arms up in slings, she said to me, "I'd been married 57 years dear. Let me give you some advice dear. Never go to bed angry. What's it that they say? Never let the sun go down on your anger. Sure couples will disagree, but you need to always hug and make up. Promise me, you'll hug and make up. That is the secret to a happy marriage.
When you meet the right person, you'll know."
I smiled at her and replied then, "I know." :)
She held on to my right hand tightly as tears streamed down her face.
"After he died, I started getting a lot of blood in my poo. The doctors put three clips in there and said it was a stress ulcer in my stomach, from all that grief.
He was a wonderful husband, and I've had 60 years of wonderful. I know that's more than many people get in their lifetime. Many couples nowadays break up, or stop loving each other, but I got to have him.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I still feel him waking up next to me."