The Invisible View
It was out the back bedroom window, Rosie went to over and over. She would place her delicate hand on the window pane and stare across the empty field.
She would stand at the window for minutes and say nothing. I never saw her bat a lash. I barely saw her ribs going in and out, showing any signs of breathing, but I knew she was alive and I knew she was remembering; but when I looked out that same window; I saw nothing.
Who am I? I am the caregiver. I have been caring for Rosie for over a year. I take care of her while her family is at work. I prepare her breakfast, and help her with her bathing. I help her do crossword puzzles and I read her the morning paper. I prepare her lunch and the two of us sit at the tiny, kitchen table and these are the times that we have the greatest talks; but never once, is the window scene ever mentioned. I help her lay down for her naps and then I tidy up the house and sometimes start a load of laundry. Soon there after her family arrives home. This is our routine Monday – Friday.
Rosie was a kind, old soul. Some days I saw spark in her eyes and then there were times I saw a sadness that ran deep. On those sad days, there wasn’t much talk. There was more window time.
She was ninety-two years of age. The last time she was weighed, she was confirmed at 98 pounds. Her spirit was strong and most days, she ate hearty. She didn’t have a daily routine as most would. She always claimed to live for the moment, as you weren’t guaranteed the next.
Her doctor wasn’t sure why she was still with us. He claimed over the last six months her heart was weak and getting weaker. He stated a few times, something must be bothering her, or she would be sitting next to her husband in heaven.
I tried to maintain the same spirit as Rosie did. Why worry about tomorrow? We may not even get tomorrow. Deep inside, I wanted Rosie to open up about the invisible scene she stared at daily. One day she would, but on her own schedule. I just knew it.
As the weeks went by, I couldn’t help but notice Rosie did everything a little slower. She never complained and we still went to the window and looked out over the empty field.
It was a March day, when things turned. The sun shone bright, but the cold kept trying to enter our part of the country. It was time to take Rosie for our walk to the window. She raised her hand to the pane of glass. I glanced at her and saw tears starting to fall.
“What is it Rosie? Do you want to talk about it?”
She nodded her head. ” It was 80 years ago today. The day my life changed forever. I was twelve years old and my baby brother was three years old. Mama was busy and she asked me to watch over little Johnny because she had errands to run. I brought him over there.” Rosie pointed in the direction of the center of the field. ” You see, there used to be a park that stood there. It had things like swings and a teeter totter and a slide. I was spinning around on the merry-go-round and I wasn’t paying attention to my brother like I should have. Pretty soon I heard him scream. I used my feet and skidded my ride to a stop. I raced over. He had went down the big curly slide head first. Something must have happened because he all of a sudden quit screaming. When I looked at him, he lay real still and was quiet.”
“I ran home and told mama to come real quick. She and I ran over to Johnny. She started crying. Soon a doctor showed up and said, he was gone. Mama gave me the look. I had killed my brother.”
I instantly placed my arms around Rosie. ” Rosie, this was never your fault. You didn’t mean for it to happen. It was just too much responsibility for someone that age to be watching someone so young. Don’t blame yourself.”
” I knew better”, Rosie said. ” Mama trusted me and I let her down.”
I hugged her tighter. ” You never let God down Rosie. He loves you no matter what. He needed your little brother, more than you or your mama did. He took Johnny home, not you. God doesn’t blame you for anything dear friend.”
” Are you sure? I am afraid to die. I don’t want to have to see God and explain what I did wrong.” Tears fell bigger and faster. I wiped her tears and looked her straight in the eye.
” There is no reason to fear God. You are loved by him. He is waiting for you to come see your brother. You just have to let him know when you are ready.”
We turned from the window and went to Rosie’s bedroom. I brushed her hair. I took her slippers off and helped her lay down. I covered her up, gave her a kiss on the cheek and told her everything would be alright.
My shift over, I left and went home. I kept thinking about Rosie and what a burden she had been carrying for so many years. my evening was quiet. Finally, I went to bed. About two hours later my phone rang. I was told I wouldn’t need to come to work the next morning. Rosie had went home to see her baby brother.