By: Danielle Jin
Two elderlies, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. The woman was allowed to sit up in her bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from her lungs. Her bed was next to the room's only window. The man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The two talked for hours on end. They spoke of their spouses and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in society and the military service, and where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon when the woman in the bed by the window could sit up, she would pass the time by describing to her roommate all the things she could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans swam playfully on the water while the children sailed their model boats and flew their kites. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the woman by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon the woman by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band, he could see it in his mind's eye as the old woman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and weeks passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the woman by the window, who had died peacefully in her sleep. The nurse was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, the old man propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.
It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the woman was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps she just wanted to encourage you."