Everyday, I see an 87 year old Greek man sitting outside his wife's bedroom at the facility; she appears to be at the end of her days. She lays in bed, lifeless.
Little prayer book in his hands, the Greek Madonna portrait on the cover; he sits and prays.
He is a sweet old man. Every day he arrives around the same time by "The Ride"; a service provided to seniors by the Massachusetts Transportation Authority. Every day, he sits outside of his wife's bedroom and he prays.
He greets my mom and me as we walk by during our exercise time. In broken English, he tells my mom that she has a nice family. Mom smiles proudly with a shy spoken "Thank you."
I've observed this old man for the last 2 months. He seems to forage for crumbs in the kitchen area. Crackers are always available; he puts them on a bed tray, covered with a napkin as he uses the bed tray as a walker. I never see him eating real food.
Yesterday, I saw him and I asked him if I could share some of my food with him. He said, "YES!" as his eyes filled with tears. "God bless you." He said to me as he kissed my hand.
Today, I brought him a bowl of my Gluten Free American Chop Suey; loaded with ground turkey and fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden. Mom and I walked down the hall to where he was sitting; his eyes filled with tears and once more he blessed me and kissed my hands. "Thank you. God will bless you. Thank you."
"How many children?" He asked me as he pointed to my mom.
"Five." I replied.
"You the only one who come?" He asked in broken English as tears began to stream down his cheek.
I couldn't answer. I didn't want to upset my mom because if I spoke the answer, I would cry. I said my so long for now to my little friend and I took my mom out to the supermarket.
Mom and I got back from our outing and the little Greek man was walking down the hall toward my mom's room. He was pushing the bed tray with the cleaned food container on top.
"Did you taste it? Did you like my food?" I asked.
"Tank you... tank you. Did I taste it? I ate all!" He said to me in broken English. "I give you someting." He handed me my cleaned container with 3 Greek cookies that he had made. I think the cookies were his lunch for the day.
I tried one immediately. "Mmmmmmmmm... delicious. I love Greek cookies; thank you!" I gave my new friend a big hug and a kiss on his cheek.
"God bless you. I pray for you and your mother. I pray for all people here, but I pray for my family last." He continued with a tear soaked face. He took my hand and kissed it while he repeated, "God will bless you."
Forgotten by his children, he is left alone to face the impending demise of his beloved wife. Watching. Waiting. He sits and he prays.
How can we as a society allow this to happen?