Sad Angel Sitting

{This piece was written for an English assignment many years ago. It is based on what my grandmother went through in her final stages of life}

©Cydni Ambrosio

Her voice grew hoarse over time as though being taken away from her piece by piece with each slow-burning cigarette. Those exceedingly addictive “pimp sticks” that she just couldn’t shake, took her voice, and also took the picturesque coloration of her smooth skin. In their wake they left a yellowed and extremely wrinkled canvas.

Her thin body frames sunken brown eyes that once held hope and admiration and are now shadowed with fear and sadness. She slips into her “uniform” of house dress and terry-cloth, open-toed, size-eight-quadruple A slippers. She wears no makeup and carries a cup of black coffee.

My sitting angel seems sad, reflective and even resigned to being alone. But why? Why do I see her this way? She is fine herself, but she dwells on her sick husband of 60 years, who she can’t help. She feels guilty for having to live with her daughter, and, at times, her beloved husband doesn’t recognize her.

Her alarm wakes her at five every morning. Rising slowly, she slides her feet into her slippers, glides quietly to the front porch to retrieve the Arizona Republic and then it’s off to get that coffee. While waiting for her java to heat up, she finds the crossword section and diligently flips through the dog-eared puzzle dictionary to find the right answers. Coffee ready, she gathers her items and retires to her sitting room.

She gently surveys the room and takes a mental inventory of two mismatched recliners, a small television, desk, books and a few curio cases filled with knick knacks from her earlier years. All are relics of a life that she now remembers alone while sitting in her recliner smoking and staring day in and day out. That chair, over time, has become and extension of her; a literal support, confidant, comfort and friend.

In that room, that spot, she spoke of the past with her husband. She spoke of the way it used to be, and what she wished it could be. The chair had also become a prison where she hid from the pain of a sick husband. She spent all of her time there other than sleeping or attending an important family function. It was as if she were already a widow.

It was from this chair that she fell one day. I found her on the floor not far from that cherished recliner, unable to rise and call for help herself. She was taken out of her “widow’s den” to the hospital, where she spent the next few months until it was time for hospice.

Lying on that bed on her last night of her life, she turned to me and smiled, then quietly slipped into the night. Although in her last few months Grandma was a sad angel sitting, she has now become a beautiful angel sitting at the right hand of God in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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