“I must go to see Toni,” I repeated to myself and others; anyone who would listen.
I thought of her: lying in the hospital bed, waiting, waiting to eat, waiting for a nurse, waiting for me to come and see her, waiting to live, waiting to die.
As the weeks went by, I could see her getting thinner and thinner. She wouldn’t eat; she had no appetite. I said to her one day, “Toni, if you don’t eat, you’re going to fade away.” She responded, “Well maybe that’s best.”
I had known Toni for at least twenty-six years, and had become very fond of her. Over time, it became struggle to get her to eat, so gently and lovingly, I coaxed her to take one bite. I so much wanted her to gain her weight back, put on her pretty clothes, walk into the day room, and introduce herself to the guests.
But she had no interest. She had no pain. She was comfortable and accepting of every situation and condition.
My sadness now erupts from my desire to get her to eat, wanting, with all my heart, for her to have an interest in living. I felt an emotional struggle. I know in my head now she is gone; I feel it in my heart.
I’ll visit her tomorrow. I miss her. Now I start to deal with a new conflict.