Todays daily prompt asks for my latest lie.
Well that I cannot give,
in case it is discovered!
But it does spark the memory,
of my biggest lie.
A lie which haunts me still.
Many years ago I was nursing.
On the ward was an elderly gentleman called “Jack”,
who stole all our hearts.
On admission he was a sprightly man,
who from the beginning had a bold streak.
There was a twinkle in his eye,
and he was a real charmer.
Every nurse who looked after him,
was charmed by him.
“Where would I be without you?”,
he would say,
or “You’re somethin else nurse,
don’t tell the rest of dem, but you’re me favourite!”.
In no time at all,
without needing to be told,
he knew it was he who was indeed our favourite.
Sadly he was a very sick gentleman,
and after surgery,
everything seemed to go wrong.
Nothing phased him however,
and every day he greeted us all,
with a big smile.
He became a long stay patient,
and the longer we knew him,
and watched his courage and stoicism,
in the face of never ending complications,
the more we grew to love him.
It was not uncommon for us,
to call into him last thing at night,
to say “Goodnight”.
Or to go to his bed first in the morning,
to say “Good morning”.
Throughout all this time,
his elderly wife was a constant by his side.
They had no family,
and had spent a lifetime together.
She would fluff his pillows,
and read to him,
as he would say to her,
“Have ye no home to go to woman?”.
Each day she would arrive early,
and not leave until very late.
Visiting hours did not apply to her,
as we looked the other way.
Just like her husband,
she too had become a favourite of ours.
One night I was nurse in charge.
I was only young at the time,
and had recently lost my Dad.
Jack was in great form,
although I could see,
he had weakened in the week I was off duty.
As I was doing my round,
settling everyone for the night,
I passed his bed.
His wife was saying the Rosary,
as she did each night.
Ignoring her prayers,
on seeing me he put out his arms and shouted,
“Ah me oul flower, you’re back”.
I too ignored his praying wife,
and went to him for a hug.
She smiled and stopped her prayers,
also offering me a hug of condolence.
There was a terrible storm forecast that night,
the rain was bucketing down,
and the wind was picking up,
I suggested to his wife,
that she might leave a bit early,
as it was to get worse.
She agreed, kissed and hugged Jack goodnight,
and off she went.
That was the last time she saw him alive.
At approximately 4am I passed Jack.
He was awake, and comfortable,
but said he could not sleep.
I offered him a cup of tea,
he refused and cheekily suggested a whiskey!
I held his hand for a bit,
and we chatted,
then I had to move on.
Shortly afterwards his wife rang.
She couldn’t sleep she said.
I reassured her that Jack was awake but comfortable.
A short time later,
I was in a room at the far end of the ward,
when Jack came to my mind.
I went back to check him,
to see had he managed to get to sleep.
As I approached his bed I knew,
without touching him,
he was gone.
My heart raced in my chest,
and tears quickly filled my eyes,
as I felt for a pulse.
Due to the level of his illness,
there was no question of resuscitation.
As I stood there disbelief gave way to reality.
He was gone.
Our Jack had died alone.
I quickly called one of the other nurses,
who rang for the doctor on call.
While she was gone I stayed with my old pal,
and said my goodbyes.
The doctor on call was a friend of mine,
and came quickly to confirm the obvious.
The sister in charge of the hospital arrived.
I asked her what to do about Jacks wife.
It was about 5am and the storm was raging.
Just then the phone rang.
“Hows my Jack?” I heard his wife say.
I couldn’t believe it.
How could I tell her?
How could I tell her he had died?
How could I tell her that no one had been with him?
Without a thought for the rights and wrongs of it,
I told her we were just about to ring her,
that Jack had disimproved,
He was unconscious.
Naturally she was upset.
She said she knew all night something was up,
as she had been unable to sleep.
She would be in as soon as possible.
Waiting for her to arrive was horrendous.
The ward was busy,
but my heart was breaking.
Eventually I could hear the lift coming.
I went to greet her.
She looked old,
and smaller than when I had last seen her.
My Doctor friend was with me,
and the hospital sister.
As soon as his wife saw me she knew.
She began to cry.
“Jack, Jack, my lovely Jack”.
She hurried to his room,
as we all followed behind,
and threw herself on him sobbing,
“Why didn’t you wait?”
It tore me apart listening to her.
There is something particularly heartbreaking,
about watching an elderly person,
say goodbye to their lifetime partner.
After a time she stopped and looked at me.
She was furious.
Why had I not phoned her?
How could I not have seen he was so sick?
Why did I insist she went home early?
In between her angry accusations,
she would quieten and look at “her” Jack.
She would lovingly rub his cheek,
hold his hand and stroke his hair.
Eventually it was time for her to leave.
The hospital sister took her away,
As she left she turned to me and said,
“I’ll never, ever forgive you”.
A few weeks later she returned to the ward.
She thanked all the nurses,
and left a card and chocolates.
As she saw me walking up the ward,
she came up to me,
looked me in the face,
and said “I will never forgive you”.
I never saw her again,
and she never did discover,
that I had lied to her.
As I remember that night,
I still think I did the right thing.
But it was the biggest lie I ever told,
and it haunts me still.
This was written in response to Daily prompt. Pants on fire.
What was the last lie you told? Why did you tell it?
This is a true story but Jack is a fictional name.