It is…. overwhelming.
I did nothing. I am no-one. When we found out she is sick I thought “well, it’s life”. I thought: “with such amount of cigarettes, smoked every day no wonder she is sick.What is it? I am sure it is a cancer! Every damn smoker is risking it with every damn cigarette!”
She was smoking inside their flat. On the balcony. And in the backyard. We could smell it from the distance, the disgusting odor of cigarettes. It all was going up with the wind, straight into our kitchen or bedroom. Hated it! 6 am and “good morning world!” I was waking up smelling her smoking on the balcony just below ours…. We’ve never said anything.
She got a cancer. Started in her kidney. Then spread into her stomach, lungs and bones. We’ve stopped seeing her. Only her husband was still “on the move”. We started to wonder what happened but never dared to ask… like completely strangers, even though we’ve been leaving under the same roof for 4 long years.
Then someone told us. She was in hospital. They did some tests. She got back home, but got stuck in bed.
Strangers. Only simple “hello” while passing by. Neighbors.
When I found out how bad it is I felt that things cant stay the way they are. I felt almost obliged to do something for them. Not because I felt pity for her. I feel that you cant leave people in their hard times just like that. Whatever it is, when you see someone in pain, distress, worried, crying, angry, hurt… do something about it. At least try. You never know… maybe you will be the one who will bring back a smile on their face. Even just for a second. For some of them the second might be eternity….
I’ve made salad. Nothing special. Something light and healthy. Knocked their door wondering what to say. The old man opened. I told him as gently as I could that we know his wife is sick and that if they need anything we are there for them. Gave him the little meal, exchanged few words, assured him few more times that he can knock at anytime and I left. Couple of days later brought them some cake. I decided to pay them little visit every now and then. Just to assure them they are not alone. There are people around them ready to help. I wanted them to know it.
On the second or third time (?) he asked me to come inside but I refused. I thanked him and excused myself , I didn’t want to disturb.
I couldn’t refuse another time when he invited me again. I went into their bedroom , where she was lying barely able to move. She was touched, she cried. She thanked me even though I did nothing. We’ve talked a bit. I took her hand. Touched her skinny cheek and told her there is no reason to worry and that I will visit her soon again. I told her that everything will be fine…..
She loved flowers. So next time I brought her big bunch of nice smelled flowers. Even though she was in great pain she was smiling all the time 🙂
They took her to hospital. Illness was making progress throughout her body very fast. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t walk, she could barely eat. They kept her on painkillers, making tests and wondering what can be done.
I visited her at the hospital. She cried. She couldn’t take it anymore. She couldn’t take the pain anymore. She said she wish to die… Her husband found some container to put the flowers into it so it could stand next to her bed together with the birthday card, wishing her all the best….
My last visit she couldn’t remember. She was sleeping. She couldn’t see the flowers I brought her. Her husband told me she is very weak and it is getting worst and worst every day. He told me that the professor wants to see him to discuss something….
The day after he had the meeting with the doctors I knocked the door. He opened them smiling joyfully as if happy to see me! Then I smelled the scent of alcohol… when I asked him how is HE doing, he said that he is little bit tired after whole day. It was obvious. I got it. They told him that there is nothing they can do for her anymore…
They moved her to palliative care, where she spent her last few weeks… in pain, on drugs, barely conscious. With her husband by her side. Everyday.
I wanted to visit her again but was too busy with my own life.
When I finally went to the hospital it was 2 hours too late. Two hours.
Tomorrow is her funeral. Funeral of a woman I barely knew.
Two days ago, when I was at work my husband called me. He said the neighbor brought something for me… a necklace from his wife. I was astonished, I was taken aback, my heart sunk. I could literally feel like this huge bulb was growing in my throat…
I couldn’t open it. I didnt want to see it. I refused to think it is for me. I didnt want to think about it. I cried.
Earlier this evening I went to him with the necklace. I was going to tell him that it is to precious and I cant take it. I was going to ask him if he needs anything but to my happiness I saw that some members of his wife’s family managed to come.
He said that his wife asked him to pack the necklace and give it to me when she will be gone. She told him to do it months ago… After my seconds visit with the flowers….
I did nothing. I feel so sorry. This simple act of….. I cant describe it. I am trying to be a good person. I believe in kindness. I believe in love. This is how I want to live. This is what I want to give. I want people to be happy. I want to see them smiling.
Never thought that people can see it. I never know if I have done enough. I always see there is something else or more to be done. I want people to be happy. I am trying to be a good person but no-one never gave me the tiniest impression that I am doing something good, so I dont know if I am doing enough…
She saw it.
The stranger woman has seen it in me and then she died.