The man walked into the hospital room. His wife of 43 years was asleep.
"Wake up, honey." he murmured, rubbing her face, kissing her cheek. She did not respond.
"It's me, I'm here", he said, putting his mouth close to her ear, continuing to rub her cheek. He squeezed her hand.
He sat on one of the chairs in the room, waiting for the lunch tray to arrive.
It came, with a selection of pureed foods.
There was a whiteboard on the wall, giving the date, the names of the nurses caring for his wife, and the goal for the day, which was simple: Eat!
Yesterday, she had had a good day, smiling at her husband and her son. He had taken her picture. Today, she did not respond.
"Lunch has arrived", he said gently. "Would you like something to eat?" He brought a spoonful of pureed turkey with gravy to her lips. She did not take it. "Please, take something", he encouraged her.
A stuffed animal shared her bed. The turban that covered her head was provided by her sister. Family and friends had been visiting for the last month.
She made a sound. Perhaps she was trying to say something. Perhaps she wanted to tell her faithful husband, always there without fail, how much she loved him.
He offered her a glass of water with a straw. He touched her lips with the straw. She did not sip it.
He rubbed her face some more and squeezed her hand.
He would come again tomorrow. And the day after that.
My childhood friend Margaret, rest in peace.
June 19, 1952-September 17, 2015