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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Lackey

Did You Hear What I Heard?

Last Sunday, Alan and I slipped into Meems' room during nap time. She was fully enjoying some mighty sweet slumber. Since the move to the new place, Hospice has switched her to a new hospital bed. Additional bedrails at the foot of her bed are not allowed at the new place, so she is now the proud sleeper of a high-low bed. This bed can be lowered down to about 18" from the floor. Padded mats are placed on either side on the floor. If she decides to roll out of bed, she won't have far to fall and the landing should be relatively soft.

Miss Cozy was all curled up on her favorite sleeping side which is her left side same as me. I knelt on the mat so that I was eye level with her face. Alan sat on the other side of the bed near the crook of her legs. "Hey!" I said. Slowly, her eyes began to peel back allowing her brain to access the Interrupters of Sweet Dreams.

When she recognized me, her cheeks swelled with a tender smile. After we exchanged the usual How-Are-You-Todays and Goods, she began to put together sentences. Some days putting together sentences is too difficult. But, on this particular Sunday afternoon, she reached deep into her brain that now lights up randomly like lightening in distant storm clouds.

Hearing Alan's voice, her eyes tracked he came into view.


The words came tedious and slow. Her tongue was thick and dry. Her whispers were like vapor. I leaned over so that my ear almost touched her lips.

"Say again?"


"That's my husband, Alan!"

"Helen, it's me, your son-in-law!"


We quietly waited for her hoping she would begin a thread of conversation. She did not disappoint.


"Mom, your sweet voice is so tiny that I'm having trouble making out what you just said."


I tilted my head and let those syllables soak in for a moment before reverting to the mother of a toddler who knows the secret language of her child. My oldest called the souvenir cup from the circus his "e-boo cup." I served as translator. "It's the one on the left - the one from the circus."

Me, thinking: ""ells"........BELLS....on...hmmm, what day is associated with bells?...."

Then, the memory of the day of the bells pulled into clear focus.

"Got it! My wedding day!......Did you hear the bells on your wedding day?!"

"Yes! Remember, we opened the window in the church parlor so that we could hear my wedding bells chime eight times! It was beautiful!"

She slowly smiled and gave me a tiny nod.

"I remember the dress you wore! You made it yourself, it was a rosy pink. You looked beautiful!"


"Yes! We heard the bells!!"


"I was VERY happy that day!"

"' of.....the.............'appiest.............(swallows)"

Attention Makers of Precious Moments Figurines: If you create a sappy little pastel figurine depicting a kneeling, pudgy 61-year-old lady leaning over a high-low hospital bed with her ear pasted to the mouth of a tiny 92-year-old, I'll buy one and display it on the living room mantel. Call it "Did You Hear the Bells."

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