Getting old was the most difficult thing Jonathan Sears had ever done. With his body working against him, he no longer enjoyed activities he indulged in before he got sick. Up until he was eighty-five years old, he took long walks downtown, visited the local shops in town, and talked with some long time friends. His grandchildren visited him often, and enjoyed playing games with him. Soon afterward, he was a great-grandfather, which meant there was even more love to go around. Then, he came down with pneumonia six years ago. His doctor prescribed codeine to combat the symptoms. However, the medicine made his mind incoherent, and his body limp like a rag doll.
Now, he sits in an old age home, waiting for a visit from his family. When they did visit, Jonathon sat in his chair staring out the window. He often didn’t pay attention when his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would talk to him. It wasn’t the same as being able to move around freely in his own home.
Little Ethel walked up to him with her arms outstretched, waiting for him to pick her up into his arms. However, all he could do was look upon with child with his sad eyes, saying, “I’m sorry, honey. My body ain’t what it used to be.”
“Grandpa, can we get you anything? A magazine? Or perhaps some homemade cookies?” Rhona sat next to him holding his hand. She looked upon him with sadness, remembering how active he used to be. Now, it’s as if the life has been sucked out of him.
“No, dear. I just want to left to my thoughts. Thank you all for coming. But, I need to be with myself for a while.” He peered out the window at the lawn. There was a young man doing landscaping work. Jonathon thought of the times he spent in his own yard, creating animals out of his shrubbery and bushes. He was a true artist. His heart longed for those days.
Ethel’s cries caught his attention. “Dear, please don’t cry. I…” He lowered his head, and began crying himself. “The poor thing. She wants to be held. I no longer have the strength.”
The child walked up to him, tugging at his pants, and wrapped her arms around his legs. Glancing down at her, he patted her soothingly on the back.
An eruption of tears flowed down his face. “I’ve forgotten how it feels. The warmth from a child is a beautiful thing.” He covered his eyes, sunk in his emotional tides.
Ethel cooed, looking upon him, smiling.
Rhona picked up the child and placed her gently upon Jonathon’s lap. He put his arms around the child. “Ethel, I remember your mother being your age. You have her smile. You have your grandmother’s eyes, and your great grandmother’s bone structure. You’re all my memories combined.” He leaned in and kissed the child on top of her head.
Together, they gazed out the window, watching the rain crash to the earth. The sound of thunder put tears in Ethel’s eyes as she clung to Jonathon’s shirt.
“There’s no need to fret, child. It’s just the Lord banging on his drums. He has a band of angels in his orchestra. He’s leading them through the symphony of the heart.” Jonathon pulled the child close to him, and watched her drift off to sleep.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2016