Stay or go?

Last night was one of the nicest nights I’ve had here in hospital. I think because a bunch of us were in the common area and we were all listening to Maria and her lovely stories; we ended up all going to dinner together and sitting in a big group at a large table in the dining hall.

I couldn’t stop smiling when I looked around and saw patients I’ve become familiar with all smiling, talking and eating together.

There’s something about food that brings a sense of fellowship that I really love.

The thing is, I was conscious of Maria leaving early the next morning and I wanted to get to my room, write her a card and give it to her before she finished her dinner to make sure she got it rather than leave things to chance and possibly miss her.

So, I ate quickly and was waiting for a lull in the conversation where I could excuse myself and go write Maria’s card.

Stay and just listen my inner voice whispered.

Maria was sitting across from me, so I took a moment to mindfully study her. I think Maria was in her 70’s. Her face was lit up because she was telling us about her daughter. The pride and love she felt was so clear in her facial expressions and tone of voice.

It was a beautiful thing to witness.

“My daughter makes friends wherever she goes” Maria smiled at the memory “she can go into a coffee shop and will come out with 3 new friends”

Everyone at the table (I think there were about 6 of us) smiled. A few of us commented at what a lovely character trait to have. I smiled and thought of Alun who has the same magical way of making a friend so quickly no matter where he goes.

This is my chance to leave.

Someone asked Maria about her adventures when she was in her 20’s and again, her face lit up. I’d heard these stories before so I could have left and not missed out on the story, but something deep within kept me still.

I chose instead to sip at my apple juice and enjoy the company of everyone gathered together around the table. Especially my last night to spend time with Maria; who was in her element, telling us about a night out with American sailors, bless her.

I was able to just sit, listen and enjoy hearing Maria’s stories. I chose that over leaving and I don’t regret it.

It turns out, Maria went to the common room to say goodbye to a few other patients, which bought me time to write her card and give it to her in time.

Thank you, God.

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