[This might be a re-blog. I couldn’t remember if I’d posted it before. It’s a piece from my memoir, which, by the way, I’m trying to publish. Could use some prayer on that score. I hate the business side of things.]
For months, even the thought of eating was an unpleasant one. Chemo tends to eradicate all normal appetite from its victims and everything tasted like the strings that remain on the banana from the inside of the peel. I had a very real aversion to all foods all the time for a long time. The doctors, who I suspected never had the displeasure of 24/7 nausea, nagged me nonstop about keeping my weight and hydration up. It was Jean’s job to see that I ate and drank enough to avoid having to be hospitalized and fed intravenously. Though she did her job with the coercive quality of the Godfather, I did have to go to the hospital a few times to be force-fed through tubes, which I suspect Jean considered a personal affront. Though not Jewish, she’s like the prototypical Jewish mother who won’t permit her family or guests to leave the table until they’re full to their eyeballs. Anyway, when intimidation didn’t work, she’d resort to trickery to get me to eat.
I remember one particular morning when she asked me what I’d like for breakfast. I began the dance with equal tenderness, “Nothing, thanks.” She waited a while and asked again. I think she was counting on my meds, the amnesic ones in particular, to have muddled my mind enough to forget she’d already offered. “No thanks,” I said again, not letting on that I did realize that we were on round two of the morning spar to get me to eat.
A half hour would pass and she’d ramp it up a notch– “How does just one small scrambled egg sound?”
“No thanks, Jean. I just couldn’t.”
To Jean, “No thanks,” means, “I’ll begin cooking, and maybe the smell will entice him.” It didn’t. It never did. She put the food on the table anyway. I can’t stand to waste food, a fact that had not escaped her notice. She tricked me into consenting to attempt one egg. I sat down at the kitchen table to more than I bargained for. She scrambled them so as to conceal the actual number of eggs on the plate. If she’d fried them she’d have to suggest (which is different than actually lying) that it must’ve been “one of those double-yoked eggs.” She claimed that chickens had twins just the same way humans do. I don’t know about that, but with a limited number of working brain cells, my power to deduce and debate was not in good working order.
“Jean,” I said, “I may be sick, but I remember what one scrambled egg looks like. If this is one egg, it either came from the biggest chicken that God ever made or from some other much larger foul. And I do suspect something foul here.”
It also didn’t escape my notice that she had used an extra large plate to make the portion of food look smaller! Still unwilling to add lying to her sin of deception for a good cause, with her back turned toward me, she kept cooking and replied only with a nod and a, “Hmm.” In addition to the Big Bird-sized-egg she snuck onto the plate a piece of toast topped with my favorite jam. Devious woman.
If angels can be incorrigible, Bob and Jean were of that ilk of heavenly beings.
You get the picture. They made a heroic commitment for a very long haul. They never balked as they unselfishly cared for me as though I were their own son. I say with grateful tears that my diminutive angels did what angels do. They served me hand and foot for three years like the Good Samaritans they are.
God, please bless these humble servants of yours. And may I be like them when I grow up!