FOREVER IN THEIR EYES

FOREVER IN THEIR EYES

From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul

Forever in Their Eyes

Early one morning, I witnessed romance at one of the least-expected places in the world—a long-term care facility. At the time, my father shared a room with three other gentlemen. While it wasn’t an ideal situation, it was the best the administrator could do at the time.

A few days before this particular visit, an elderly couple was admitted to the facility. Since there wasn’t a double room available, they were forced to separate the couple. The gentleman, Mr. West (name has been changed) was placed in the bed beside Daddy. His wife, Mrs. West, shared a room with several other ladies down the hall.

When I went to see Daddy that morning, I met Mr. West. Three employees were working with him. He hadn’t eaten a bite of food since he was admitted several days earlier. I could tell by the expression on the nurses’ faces that they were worried about him. While one nurse was trying to get him to open his mouth with spoonfuls of gelatin, another nurse was trying to coax him to drink a health shake from a straw. The third nurse was standing nearby with a cup of water. Mr. West refused to open his mouth for any of them.

“Let’s try this,” one of the nurses said. She pulled out a lollipop, tore off the paper and offered it to Mr. West. His lips were clamped together tightly. He refused to listen to reason. Finally, he uttered something about his sweetheart, who was resting down the hall.

“Go get Mrs. West,” the nurse instructed her helper, while handing her the lollipop. “Maybe Mr. West will eat for her.”

In a few minutes a kind-looking lady was wheeled into the room. She held the lollipop in her hand. Her smile was contagious and Mr. West smiled brightly. I felt as though I was intruding on a private moment, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the couple. The love between them was obvious, as Mrs. West patted Mr. West’s hand and then caressed his forehead.

With a soft voice, Mrs. West convinced Mr. West to eat. To everyone’s surprise Mr. West opened his mouth and began to enjoy the lollipop and his wife’s company. While the nurses fed him, he stared at his sweetheart with a smile on his face. Mrs. West began humming a tune to him. The expression on his once solemn face became even brighter.

Tears filled my eyes. The nurse then pulled the curtain around the couple to give them some quality time alone to visit. I discovered that romance doesn’t only exist when we’re young and in love. Romance lasts a lifetime and grows stronger with age. Before long I heard snores of contentment coming from the bed beside me.

Today, Mr. and Mrs. West reside together in a place where there are no limitations, nursing homes or wheelchairs. There are no tears in their eyes or rooms dividing them. I am convinced that the West marriage went well beyond “till death us do part” and will last throughout eternity. Not only did I witness a memorable romance that day, I saw a glimpse of forever in a loving couple’s tired and worn-out eyes.

Nancy B. Gibbs

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