Out of high school, I worked in a nursing home, in the diatetic department [which means “kitchen”]. I washed dishes and set up the tables for the residents.
Lillian was an old woman. She had liver spots the size of quarters. She had Coke-bottle glasses [Literally. They were thick.]. She was diabetic and had one leg amputated above her knee, and she was, of course, in a wheelchair. She was a very sweet woman, but her faculties had left her, for the most part, and she wasn’t too keen about what was going on.
Her husband John was an old, overall-wearing farmer, and he came in every day before lunch. He’d wait while the nurses assistants got Lillian ready for lunch, sitting out by Lillian’s table. He’d help her eat lunch, and then he’d spend the day with her. She’d nap, or watch the kids come in for piano recitals, or play Bingo, or get her fingernails done, or roll her wheelchair around, or nap, or just watch Lawrence Welk, or just spend the afternoon doing nothing.
John helped Lillian eat supper, and when the nurses assistants came to take her to bed, John took his van and went home.
One day, John was sitting out at the lunch table, waiting for the assistants to bring Lillian out, and one of the other women, Lenora, asked John, “John, you know she would never know if you didn’t come. You have so many other things you could be doing. Why on earth do you come here every day?”
And John said, “Because I said, ‘For better, or for worse.’ And I meant it.”
Well, Kristi, I said for better or for worse, and I meant it. Happy 15th anniversary. We’ll see who’s pushing who around the nursing home, later…..