Crawling into bed, pillows and blankets wrapping me to slumber, my mind's eye story-telling the day. Holidays, excitement, joy, loneliness for too many.
He asks me, "Do I have a family? I don't even know anymore if they are alive or dead." No information in his records. Just a bunch of words telling a story of defeat, wandering pain, his own nowhere man-ness. I want to send him a package from his family so he will think he has one. But I don't. My role in his life, his one and only life, is to support him, teach him, reign him in when need be, assure his safety in this place he calls prison, we call hospital.
Tossing and turning, thoughts of our sad wandering minstrel, just smart enough to know how sick he is. Day after day, drawings and songs, stories to the King. He breaks my heart, so young, so forlorn, so much wanting to be well, to make a life for himself.
So I drink to me. I drink to my health. And theirs. Let's salute all these poor souls. One day, long ago, a sweet little babe was born to a village full of smiles and love. Somewhere along the way, doubt showed up, pain flowered and suffering took over.
So we try to soften the blows. A birthday cake. Christmas stockings filled with little treats: top ramen, candy canes, hot chocolate packets. Buy a pizza. Show another movie. Feel my own compassion. Show it. Smile again. Love someone. Anyone.
And go to sleep at the end of the day in my nice warm bed.