“So!” I declared brightly. “Did you have a good snooze? There is so much going on here, the farm is a bee hive of activity!”
“What does that mean?” he asked, his accent heavy with sleep and the language of his youth.
“It means we have Einer here building ramps for the front step, so we can easily go in and out. Kevin is putting up screens and talking about widening your door to the porch so we can go there without traversing this whole end of the house, and Joe is installing all the window air conditioners. Let’s get you up so you can supervise the activity!”
“And where is your husband?” he asked reclining on the pillows as I swung his legs to the edge of the bed and propped him upright.
“I don’t have one at the moment. Would you like to sign up for that title?”
After much thought, he responded slowly, “No. But you have had one in the past?”
“Yes, I have had two. Then I decided I wasn’t very good at marriage. Now are you getting up?”
“Yes. But tell me, were they good men?”
“Of course! They were the best. I just don’t do well as a wife.”
From there we put his shoes on, got him standing, into the wheelchair and out the front door after carefully choosing his “chapeau’ and grabbing a soft blanket to wrap around his shoulders. The sun was warm as we rolled down the driveway and back up the path to the gardens at the back of the house. I worked up a sweat pushing him over the gravel between the drive and the farm store. He took in what was blooming since our last excursion. I wondered what is it like to be outside infrequently; does he miss reveling in the blooms and changes every day brings?
He speaks less often, grunts and groans indicate his inability to endure even the shortest of our bumpy strolls around the farm. When he is tired, we roll back to the shadow of the Maple tree to watch the chickens dusting and scratching in their yard. Sheba dutifully brings her tennis ball to him.
There is more and more ‘No’ to our days. “Do you need a drink? No. “Can I get you anything?” No. “Are you cold?” No. and I accept that there is less and less I can do to entertain and provide comfort. My reward is when his eyes light up upon seeing me after three days absence. “Oh I’m so glad it is you here today!”
Yes, it is me for today…