I looked out the window of the pristinely kept, heavily sanitized hospital room. On the field, unaware of my eyes watching them, the women’s rugby team threw and tackled each other. Seemingly having fun, they ran around the field, completing various drills.
Meanwhile, within my short sight, my grandfather rested in the bed, positioned at an acute angle to add comfort. His grayed head hung to one side, while my mother held his hand. She asked him if he was in pain, and his eyes feebly looked upward towards her. His mouth, empty of his dentures, moved slightly. Barely audible sound escaped. She griped his hand tighter. Witnessing this intimate moment between father and child, I averted my attention to the window and watched the women for a few moments.
She brushed past me, as she made her way to one of the cata-cornered chairs by the window. After taking off her jacket, she pulled the chair closer to his bed. His grayed eyes met mine. “How you doing, Charlie,” I asked. His head briefly perked up upon hearing the family nickname that the dementia has not stripped from his memory. Yet, his eyes sparkled gray, letting me know that he was there, present and fighting. Fight on, Charlie, I thought to myself. My mother’s voice interrupted our fleeting moment together, as my grandfather seemingly strained to turn his head to where this new sound came. Holding her phone, she began to read a bible verse from Psalms, her favorite book. After two or three verses, she did not like the psalm she had chosen. My grandfather agreed, with an audible grunt that conveyed he wanted her to stop. She grasped his hand again, and this time, without looking at her phone, recited psalm 23 effortlessly, while looking in his eyes. There is no grunt this time. In fact, his head relaxed into the pillow and he began to close his eyes. Once again, with the verses penned about faith in the midst of anxiety as my background noise, my gaze returned to the world outside of the window.