Why I Bother with Mascara is a Mystery

Ethel died today.  And I cried. 

You are probably wondering who Ethel is, and why I care enough to shed tears.  Answer Number One:  I don't know.  Answer Number Two:  Because.

Because "Ethel" was the name on the placard outside of Room 100.  Because that's the room next door to N/M/E's at Hospice Home. And, because I'd never met her, and until yesterday, I had never even seen any of her family.  There were no visitors to that room in the late-morning/lunch/early afternoon hours during the past two weeks, that I knew about. 

Until yesterday.  I noticed a woman and a young girl...possibly Ethel's daughter and grand-daughter?  But, it didn't dawn on me that there might be a reason for their visit, other than that it was just an ordinary visit.

When I arrived this morning for my ordinary visit with Momma, I noticed immediately a new Memorial Card on the entry hall table at 1803 Westchester. The name on the card was Ethel's.  And, even though I was loaded down with take-out from KFC, I had to stop and try to process the information. Ahhh.  The staff had probably called Ethel's family to come yesterday because they knew it was time.  Time to say goodbye.

Later, after Momma had eaten a few nibbles of her special request meal for the day (Extra-Crispy KFC chicken breast, slaw, and mashed potatoes and gravy), the nurse arrived to give her noon-time meds.  Seizing the opportunity, I slipped out of the room and took refuge in the Chapel.

There, I cried.  For Ethel.  For Ethel's family. For myself.  For the moment in the future when the staff will call me. The tears left no trace of my mascara...except in trails down my cheeks and on the torn tissue in my hand.

Then, a few solitary minutes later, I splashed some cold water on my face, put my smile back in its place, and headed back to Momma's room.  We had a new Southern Living to look at, after all. 

No more time to waste on tears.


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