Esther rocks quietly back and forth in her old rocking chair that her children had brought from home. No longer able to speak or make her requests known, she sits alone in her room lost in her memories. The white stark walls are decorated with family photos and a picture of Esther and Joe, her loving husband. The picture is one of them celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Joe has now gone to be with the Lord and each day Esther appears to seep deeper into a world that only she understands.
“Beth take hold of Esther’s other arm; it’s time for us to put her to bed!” Fran ordered.
Fran a Certified Nurse Assistant has grown weary of well doing. There was a time when she loved the elderly and showed quite a bit of compassion. Through the years, she has grown cold and surely should have left this job many years ago. Beth is in training and has not a clue what this adventure is about. It will not be long before her young eyes will be open forever, leaving a mark on her heart she will never forget.
Esther thinks to herself, “they are so rough sometimes.”
Her fragile skin and bones do not do well with such treatment.
“They do not even talk to me,” she contemplates in her mind, ” I am like a rag doll they pick up and do with what they may.”
“Poor Esther, I wonder if we hurt her when we move her so quickly?” Beth asked her coworker Fran.
“Ready… lift quickly, this old gal is like dead weight,” Fran said without offering a reply.
Moans pour from the mouth of Esther; the pain they instill is almost too much to bear for her tired old bones.
“Quit your whining Esther, you know the drill, its bedtime,” Fran declared.
“You think she understands what we say?” Beth asked curiously, feeling sympathetic towards Esther.
“Are you kidding? Esther is not in this world anymore, she checked out years ago!” Fran answered smartly.
“I am here…what in the world are they talking about,” Esther thought to herself, “I hear every word you speak.”
A tear fell from the eyes of Ester as the aids removed her clothing, wiping down her private parts, and exposing her to the cold air. No words were spoken in comfort just a meticulous routine done ever so diligently without love or care.
“I am so thirsty, it has been hours since I have had dinner. I wish I could have chewed faster but they kept shoveling the food in as if I am some sort of robot. When I can’t eat fast, they just quit tryin’. I miss you Joe, how I wish I was in heaven with you right now. I wonder when Darla is comin’ to see me…it’s been weeks since I’ve seen my girl. She said she would visit me every day when she put me here but the days have turned into weeks. I was a good momma,” Esther thought sadly.
Esther finally drifted off to sleep, dreaming of Jo and Darla.
Beth and Fran had finished their rounds and settled in the break room. Beth could not get Esther out of her mind.
“Fran I am going to check on Miss Esther,” declared Beth .
Fran looked up with a surprised look…”Girl she is fine, sit down! You cant start getting all attached or before you know it they will not be here tomorrow. Believe me I know! You got to keep your heart in your pocket if you know what I mean!”
Beth sat back down, being new and all, she listened to her coworker, but deep down she could not stop thinking about Miss Esther.
Morning came and it was time to get A and B halls ready for showers. They had to get the residents up at 5 am so they could be done showering, lined up in the hall and ready for breakfast.
“Wake up Miss Esther, it’s time for your shower!” Fran said loudly.
Not giving Miss Esther time to open her eyes, she was stripped of her clothes and placed on a cold shower chair, where she was rolled down the hall quickly and swiftly. Water and soap was splashed upon her body and clean clothes placed on her wrinkled skin. They maneuvered her contorted arms through the sleeves without thought. Esther was then placed in a wheel chair and lined up with the many other residents along the wall. There was no good morning hugs, smiles, nor happy voices in the air, just tired and worn out aids who had lost their zeal for this job.
Beth had finished her rounds, finding a few minutes to spare. She made her way back to Miss Esther who was now slumped over in her wheelchair.
Beth got down on her knees, placing her hands on top of Miss Esther’s cold hands.
“Miss Esther, I don’t know if you can hear me or not but I promise to spend more time with you tonight. You are not alone and God loves you so much. I know you think you don’t have any one that cares but I want you to know I care.”
Tears began to well up in Beth’s eyes and feelings began to pour from a place that she knew was designed by God himself. She took this job to make a difference and she was not going to let another coworker steal her mission in life that God has called her to do.
Beth cupped Miss Esther’s face in her hands ever so gently and looked into her eyes. A tear ran down Esther cheeks, a sure sign that she had heard every word.
“Dear Lord, bless this child who you have brought to me. May she always do unto others as they would do unto you,” prayed Esther.