A Bed In a Room

I was just staring, standing at the door to the back bedroom looking into the darkness. I was waiting for Uncle Sam, my dad’s brother to come over with his truck to help dad and I bring back the hospital bed that my mom had been in last week. Bert, (my dad’s nickname, his Christin name is Peter), was in the kitchen with the Cubs game on WGN radio, waiting also. I turned on the lamp in the room, it was the old pole lamp with the yellowing shade that was from the basement and it put off a soft yellow light that showed the off-white walls and shiny oak floor.

The light revealed the bareness with only the lamp, three brown metal folding chairs, the ugly bed and a big round wooden table. The table was an antique that we brought back from my mom’s parent’s farm in Indiana when I was nine years old. Ruth, (my mother’s name) wanted to restore it, so my dad put the table in the empty back bedroom on some old newspapers, so she could work on it.

My mother worked on it for some days cleaning, sanding and painting it with a dark green paint, then brushed on a walnut stain that she then wiped after it dried for a while. The wiping left just a film of the stain with brown streaks and small puddles in the divots my mom put in the wood with a hammer, she said this was called antiquing.

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Mom was so proud of her efforts on that old table and she showed it off to family and visitors whenever she could. My eyes turned to the bed, I stared blankly at it, my mom had spent her last night at home in this room, on that ugly bed.

A few years before on a cool, sunny fall day in 1970, my mom and I walked down to the railroad tracks at the end of our block with our gray toy poodle, Pepperoni. The tracks which had been abandoned for a few years were up a steep hill that my friends and I would sled down when there was enough snow. We were walking along the bottom of the hill near where the hill met the street and my mom, who was holding Pepe’s(his nickname) leash, slipped and fell. She could not move her leg because it was broken. I ran down the block as fast as I could to get my father as Pepe stood guard over her. My dad called the Bellwood fire department and we went to my mom and waited for them to come. The ambulance took her to West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park where our family doctor practiced.

The doctors at the hospital decided to keep my mom there for some testing because her leg was broken in more than one place and the fall was not that great. Finally, after a few days, the doctors sent her home in a wheelchair with a plaster cast that went from her foot up her thigh. My cousins, friends and I signed the white surface of the cast and some of them, who had the talent, drew pictures on it. The doctors had told my dad that this was more than a broken leg, my mom had bone cancer. A few years prior my mom started complaining to our family doctor about a pain deep in her body and he told her and my dad that this was all in her head and did nothing to investigate any further. (this doctor was studying to be a phycologist) The pain was still there, it never went away and whatever the doctor prescribed did not help much.

In the summer of 1973, we did not go on our usual vacation because my mom’s condition was getting worse and she was in and out of the hospital. I was not told by my father about what was happening to my mom, my dad must have thought that it was best not to tell me. By this time I knew in my heart that something was terribly wrong, I tried to forget my thoughts of what might be. One day I was with my friend John, who lived kitty-corner from us, his mom was friends with mine, we were walking and talking in front of his house and he just blurted out.

And that was it, we just kept on talking about how the Cubs were doing, sports and high school, nothing more about my mother, now it was real someone had finally spoken it out loud to me. In August my moms’ sisters, Auntie Delores and Auntie Dorthey came in from Indiana to be with her and I think to tell me that my mother was dying. Aunt Delores had to return to Indiana, but Aunt Dorthey stayed. My dad brought my mom home from the hospital one day in late August. Buff, Pip, and Sam, my dads’ brothers were there waiting to lift her into the hospital bed that was rented so she could be at home for her last few days. After they got my mom settled into that bed we all were trying to make her smile. There was laughter and a solemnness in the room, both at the same time, as they hid their tears, the brothers were tough and did not show their feelings after all they all fought in WWII, Auntie Dorthey tried to keep me smiling by telling stories about when the sisters were growing up.

Only a few days went by and an ambulance came to take my mom back to the hospital. My dad had planned for our parish priest to be there, Uncle Buff, Aunt Dorthey, my dad and I followed the ambulance to the hospital and my mom was put into a private room that seemed so cold. We were waiting in the hall outside the room when Father Pat came up the elevator. We all entered my moms’ room and Father Pat started speaking in Latin over my mother. He then gathered everyone close to my mother with my dad next to her and married them in the eyes of God as my Aunt Dorthey tried to hold back my tears with a joke and was shushed by the priest. My mother, being almost comatose when asked if she took Peter to be her husband replied;

This was a small miracle and I know this made them both happy. Father Pat then gave my mother the last rights and a day later she passed. I was still staring at this ugly, ugly bed, thinking about how my mother enjoyed this room. This was her craft room, the card game room when my uncles and aunts were here for a party, the room were as a four-year-old I pulled the four-drawer dresser down on top of me trying to get my father’s keys and at one time this was my parents’ bedroom where I lay in a crib next to them as an infant. Now it is an empty place along with an empty heart and that ugly bed is there to remind me.

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A Bed In a Room. (2021, Dec 14). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-bed-in-a-room/

A Bed In a Room
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