We moved my mother into a rehab facility after double knee replacement and several days in the hospital where she had the actual surgery. She shares a room with Ms. Wilson who has a window view and describes the beautiful scenery most of the afternoon. Ms. Wilson leaves in a few days and comments to my mother that she will get the “window side” of the room when she leaves.
This exchange reminds me of one of my favorite stories of two elderly men in a VA hospital that found them in a similar situation. One by the window, one by the wall. The gentleman by the wall asks his roommate to describe what he sees. Everyday the gentleman by the window describes the following, “I see children playing, I see birds flying, I see couples holding hands.” The gentleman by the wall responds, “Tell me more.” The gentleman by the window continues, “It’s an absolutely beautiful day. Leaves are falling, looks like a nice breeze and a father and son are flying a kite.”
This continues for weeks until the gentleman by the window passes away. His roommate moves to the window. As he looks out the window anticipating seeing what his friend had been describing for several weeks, he sees a solid brick wall. I think of how many times I had the chance to paint a picture of children playing, of birds flying, of couples holding hands and instead painted a picture of a wall. Given mom’s positive attitude over the last several days, I’m sure Tuesday’s new resident will be greeted with children playing, birds flying and couples holding hands.