Charles

I had another reminder yesterday to never put off what I should do. I’m not sure why this was such a difficult task for me. And truthfully, I shouldn’t even refer to it as a task. It should be considered a mission of love.

I met Charles in 2020 in a long term health care facility. I was working there and he was a resident. Charles and I talked quit a bit as we just sorta clicked. When I first got to work, I’d run down to his room and wish him a good day. Then he would ask me when I’d be back to see him. I tried to give him times when I was pretty certain that I could see him. And he held me to it. “Where ya been?” He’d question me sternly if I was late and scold me if I showed up the next day.

Charles had very poor eyesight. I would get close enough to where he could see a fuzzy me. Maybe it was my crazy hair. Of course, at that time I also wore a mask. But he knew my name and my voice.

He would tell me stories of his life. His life was difficult back in the day when he was young and growing up out west. His mother chose to keep his younger brother and sent Charles away. At age 13 he was living in unspeakable conditions and had to grow up very fast. He also told me of his time as a bellhop when a famous actor gave him money to buy lingerie for the girlfriend he brought to the hotel. And Charles did that for him.

Charles had a great sense of humor and would tell me jokes too. He’d try to remember one for every day. Charles would beg me to stay when I visited but, of course, I could not. So many others, just like him, needed one-on-one attention during the frequent lockdowns of 2020.

Charles was a bright light in my day though. One day I was in his room along with his therapist. Charles asked if I was divorced. I said that I was. He asked if I would like to get married again. I said yes. He told the therapist that I said yes. I laughed and asked him if he just proposed to me. And he chuckled a yes.

Charles wanted to talk more about the proposal but I told him I’d have to come back. One of the housekeeping staff ran into me later and told me he’s telling everyone about the wedding and that I needed to get down there and speak with him. My coworker laughed as she told me that he wants a football theme wedding with a football-shaped cake. She also told me Charles said I would have to stay around until he “kicks off”. Then we both had a good laugh.

So I went to talk to him. We joked about the football themed wedding and that I have to stick around until he kicks off. We certainly had a good time that day.

On another visit, Charles told me he was going home soon to live with his granddaughter. He said he wanted me to take care of him there and offered me free room and board and so much money per month. Oh, and I would have to take him out to breakfast once in awhile. Then he said, “And, oh yeah…you have to watch me 24 hours a day.” He laughed and said he needs to be watched. He told me where his house is and I reassured him I’d visit him there.

Well, life changed quickly and in a big way for me concerning my employment there. I had to leave and was unable to say goodbye to anyone. (I posted a blog a year or so ago about that situation.) Prior to that, I knew that Charles was scheduled to go home.

Well, I never made it to see Charles although I thought of it many, many times. Good intentions. Charles died this past week at the age of 92. My heart sank when I saw his name in the paper. Did he wonder why I never visited him again? I will never know. Another regret.

Life is sacred. And oh, so very fragile. It was wrong not keep my word. How many people must I lose before I get it?

Do not push off what could be precious moments until tomorrow or wait for a more convenient time. Death does not care about convenience. Keep your word. Say you’re sorry. And let people know you love and care for them. Honestly, what else truly matters in this life?

Learning. Constantly learning. Perfecting our hearts as we go. That should be our objective. To better oneself. ♥️

Andi

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