A Birthday Celebration During Lock-down

It was the bank holiday weekend. For me, it was another day at work to look forward. Following my morning medication rounds, I made a cup of tea and came to the nurse’s station for a short break. I prefer to take my breaks in the station so that I can have my ears on the call bells.
While I was sipping my drink, I happened to peek in the bedroom opposite. An elderly lady in her nineties sat in a delta chair near her bedroom window. She looked elegant with her light brown sparkly top. Her beautiful serene eyes appeared to have stuck to the most anticipated view outside, which made her lips curl up with a sweet smile. My line of vision followed her gaze, and it stopped at the person standing on the other side of the window- her daughter.
She did not see her daughter since the lock-down measures were in place, except for the video calls she made. It is her birthday today, but unfortunately, she cannot celebrate it with family in the usual way. Even though they are near to each other, they are indeed far away. The separation of the window seems enormous, unlike the physical distance. She has been extremely disappointed that she cannot give a warm hug to her daughter. As her daughter speaks to her, the old lady keeps smiling. Suddenly she asks, “When am I able to be with you?” She sounds pitiful.
Her daughter is patiently explaining to her about the uncertain situation of the virus outbreak, which is prevailing outside and successfully manages to hold back her mother’s tears. However, it was difficult to determine how much she understood. Both their eyes are misted, but the staff who accompany her mom try to cheer them up with kind words of hope. The scene is beautiful but painful to watch.
After a conversation of a few minutes, the daughter wishes her mother a Happy Birthday, blows her some kisses, and bids her farewell. She hands over the cards, flowers, and chocolates to the staff, who help the lovely old lady to look at them. She is so eager to go through the card.
Meanwhile, another visitor is by the window, her favorite grandson. He brings her a three-layered raspberry lemon cake and a watercolor painting done by her great-grandchildren. As though remembering something, she asks, “When am I going to dance with you?”. He tried to reassure her and says, “Hopefully, next time.” After the brief visit and wishes, the grandson also leaves his place by the glass.
Later, the staff led the old lady to the communal lounge, welcomed by a Happy Birthday Jingle, and a delicious birthday cake. As she blew out the candles, the gloomy face wore a smile once again and heartily thanked the fellow residents and the staff. As I captured those scenes in our in-house camera, I said to myself, “it is indeed a rewarding job we do.”
To bring a smile to a sorrowful heart.

~ Chinchu Gibu

Picture Credits: https://images.app.goo.gl/ApogqQhsPdbDNTdC9

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