After last night having a conversation with a new friend about how it is through the acceptance of death that we realise the importance of life and truly living a fulfilling life on a daily basis, today I am reminded of my/ all of our mortality. I have been in Cairns this week where, sadly, three people in their ‘golden years’ have unexpectedly lost their lives diving on the reef. As I headed to the departure gate to board my homeward bound flight I walked past a cafe where a dedicated paramedic was relentlessly performing CPR in an effort to save the life of another. If this wasn’t enough to bring my awareness to the value of life and it’s imminent cessation, I take my seat on the plane next to an elderly couple. What I saw for the next two hours can only be described as pure love and devotion.
I quietly observed as the husband of the wife who had suffered a stroke and was fairly immobile hopped out of his seat to reposition his wife’s body, without wanting to bother the hostess so I could reach my seat and then clambered back into his seat before informing me of her condition in quite a ‘matter of fact’ way. His proceeding actions were a fine balance of helping her as needed, whilst maintaining her independence and dignity. As he read his magazine his eyes would periodically glance over to his wife to ensure she was comfortable and when the food service began he ordered himself a coffee before informing the hostess that ‘Joy’ would like a coffee half full (with milk, no sugar) which he gently placed into her hands for her to sip on. He opened her biscuits and broke them in half for her to take from her tray table. As she spoke, he would lean across towards his wife and answer her queries before adjusting her blanket and returning to his magazine. He returns the magazine to the seat pocket and places one hand on top of the white towel that covers his wife’s motionless left hand, and sits.
And as Joy sat there in her emotionless state I could only imagine how comforting it must be for her to have this husband, the man she has no doubt shared her life with, by her side offering love, comfort and support as they both enter the final chapters of their respective journey’s. And as I look at them I wonder about their story how long have they been together, how many kids do they have, when were they married and what have they experienced?…. I realise, we are all on a journey, although each one is different we will all have the same ending. I can only hope that as my pages are filled with tales of adventures and laughter, that at the end I too will be in a position to experience the true love, devotion and comfort that clearly exists between Joy and her husband.