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The Gift

by Junie Girl 

Posted: 19 March 2004
Word Count: 867

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The Gift

It was well after mid night, wrapped in my warm fleecy robe I stood silently staring out the ninth floor window of the daunting New York hospital. I was staring at the 59th Street Bridge. It was as sparkling and beautiful as a Christmas tree. New York city has always been special to me; the Broadway theatre, the music, the restaurants from the deli’s to the Tavern-On-the-Green, “This is what the city is supposed to be about, ” I thought, dreading the morning to come and all the uncertainty it held. But the morning did come and at nine a.m. on that March 17th, I was wheeled into an operating room. Eleven hours and forty-five minutes later I was wheeled into a recovery room and a very few hours after being returned to my own hospital room I found myself actually on my feet, half walking, half propelled by medical equipment and members of my family. The orders were to walk the length and back of the long hospital corridor.

It was then that I first saw him. I saw him through a haze of, drugs, pain and the dreamy unreality that this could be happening to me. He was standing in the doorway of a hospital room. In my twilight, unfocused state I saw him almost as a spirit shape rather than a full blown person. Yet the body language of this shape was somehow sending out sympathy and encouragement to me.

This became my daily routine for the next three weeks. As I gained a little more strength the man would be standing in the doorway, smiling and nodding as I would pass with one or more members of my family. On the fourth week I was allowed to solo up the corridor. As I passed his room, there was my faithful friend in the doorway. He was a slender dark complexioned man. I stopped a minute to chat. He introduced me to his wife and his son who was lying listlessly in a hospital bed. The next day as I made my scheduled walk, he came out and walked with me to my room. He explained that he and his wife had brought their teenage son to this hospital of hope from Iran. They were still hoping but things were not going well. He told me of how I had encouraged him on that first dreadful night’s walking tour and how he was rooting for me. For three more weeks we continued our conversations, each giving the other the gift of caring and friendship. He told me of how he enjoyed seeing my family as they rallied around me and I was saddened by the loneliness of that small family so far from home.

Miraculously, there did come a day when the doctor told me I would be discharged the following morning. That night I told my friend. The next morning he came to my room. I had been up and dressed since dawn. My bright yellow dress gave me hope, and I almost looked human. We talked a bit. I told him I would pray for his son. He thanked me but shrugged his shoulders indicating the hopelessness. We knew we would never see each other again, in this world. This man in his sorrow was so happy for me. I felt his love. He took my hand and said, “You are my sister”. I answered back and said, “You are my brother”. He turned and left the room.

My family came to retrieve me. Doctors and nurses, to say their goodbyes and give orders. All business had been taken care of. After seven and a half weeks I was leaving the hospital room I had walked into with so much trepidation.

As I turned to walk down the corridor to the elevator, my brother stood in the doorway, smiling, nodding and giving his blessing.

It was 14 years ago today on March 17th 1990 that I entered that operating room and much has happened to the world since my brother and I said our last farewell. Yet I think of him often and he is always in my heart as I feel I am in his. I remember his intense, dark brown eyes as we pledged ourselves as brother and sister. At that moment, I knew without a doubt that the Spirit of God hovered over us smiling, nodding and blessing us with the knowledge that we are all one.

Many times I have pondered over the years why we humans meet our dearest friends or bond so deeply with another person when we are most vulnerable. I think it is because when we face a life threatening illness, job loss, whatever the catastrophe may be; we are left completely without any pretension and our hearts and souls are open to those around us and we are able to accept the love and kindnesses of others, almost freely and thankfully as children accept love. This kind of love is blind to race, color and creed and leads to a pair of dark brown eyes seeking a pair of very blue eyes and pledging a love that will last through time.

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Comments by other Members

Jubbly at 20:48 on 19 March 2004  Report this post
Oh Junie girl this is so moving and beautifully put to paper. I love the vivid images of a wondrful city that you so effortlessly conjuer up. Your philosphies on life are truly uplifing and the comparison to innocent children is very true. I'm a cynical person with a brash side and a sense of humour that gets me through the tough times, but I have to admit this piece really did leave it's mark on me. Thanks for posting it.


Account Closed at 21:24 on 19 March 2004  Report this post
Junie, this brought tears to my eyes. It's one of those pieces that you read, then sit back and ponder over, very deep. Beautiful. I loved the eyes at the end.


JohnK at 22:23 on 19 March 2004  Report this post
Hi -
Powerfully moving. A great concept, and the 'brotherhood' theme is show to us so well.

The line that I wish I had written is 'We are left completely without any pretension and our hearts and souls are open to those around us and we are able to accept the love and kindnesses of others.'

I alos appreciate the thought that we can choose our family if we try - nominate our relatives, not just live with those we are born with.

Thanks, Junie, thanks very much,


roger at 08:10 on 20 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Junie - beautifully written, a great concept and an accurate conclusion. What more can a reader want? This short piece will touch many, many people, and if the message is absorbed (and the quality of your prose should ensure that it is), who know, we may end up with a better world. Great stuff.

incredibly minor in the overall scheme of things, but can you remove the comma after 'of' on the first line of the second para?

Richard Brown at 09:36 on 22 March 2004  Report this post
May I join in the chorus of praise? A very uplifting piece, Junie, highly relevant to our times. I wonder if you are looking to get it published. It might help the world a little if your President got to read it sometime!
By the way (minor point time) - I agree with Roger about the comma and would it not be preferable to have a full stop after 'midnight' in the very first line?
Can we look forward to more slices of New York life? I hope so.

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