February came in like a lion and with it another grand holiday, “Ground Hog Day.” Oh come on now! Valentine’s Day!!!!!! The store fronts on all the streets were decorated in red and white. The glittery trees made way for big red balloons and streamers in matching shades of pink, white and red and even the music had changed from “Deck the Halls” to “I Will Always Love You”
I think this holiday like no other can leave a person, male or female, str8 or gay in a awkward place depending on relationship status. It’s been a few years since I’ve had to face this one alone but for those of you who will and are believe me I had many years I did celebrate the day as a solo artist. I feel your pain and that is why this blog is not really about St. Valentine’s Day but more about giving and receiving love.
I think I am the type of guy that can over romanticize the holidays and so end up feeling a little disappointed if it doesn’t look like what I had created in my mind. This year I never gave the day much thought. John and I were too busy preparing his mom for a major life event. Her long awaited hip surgery. It has been a long 8 months of making the plans for the big event. which was now to land on Feb 15th. Not alot else on the mind when you know the next day an 81 year old is going under the….well you know.
February 14th came and went and our nerves were shot thinking about whether we had helped her make the right decision about having her hip replaced. It really had to be but still we felt the large load of responsibility.
Wednesday Feb 15th 6 A.M we arrive at St. Michael’s Hospital on Queen Street in Toronto. We get to where we need to sign her in. As we waited the clock ticking down I spent maybe a little bit too much time looking around at the other 50 people that were waiting for or having surgery.
There were two ladies in waiting and for some reason they irked me. I don’t know why. I couldn’t put my finger on it but you know me I came up with some great one liners about them to John but he was too tired to play along and ignored me. I was acting like a bit of a jerk but I can only blame it on my nerves and maybe not getting enough sleep.
John had to go play a funeral so I helped check his mom in and get her ready for her surgery. Remember he is a music director and organist. This was just a terribly timed performance. Alice and I chatted and the time was now on to 10 A.M. As we waited together in the private quarters, I started feeling emotional. I held it in and smiled and as they wheeled her bed down the hall I whispered I love you Alice and I’ll see you in a few hours. She said ok and off she went.
I was alone. I walked down the hall, the tears started flowing. I needed to hide. I was worried. I prayed Alice would be ok. It’s not easy doing this at 81. It’s a big deal. At that moment a good friend of mine texted me. “When would you like me to come to the hospital?” She asked. I simply replied “Now”
I went to a bathroom that was a co user bathroom. meant for men and women. I never saw anything like that before but I went in to dry my eyes. From out of one of the private stalls came an older woman. Grey hair and gentle face. I tried to hide my feelings but they always seem to show. It was the lady I had been making jokes about earlier to John. She walked up to me and said “Are you ok?” I told her about Alice and the tears came. She asked if she could hug me. I accepted and she held me like a mother consoling a son.
She released me and then held my arms and said “Look into my eyes, Alice has been through so much pain. Everyday, so much pain but now she will be free from that pain.” She pointed to her own hip.
“I had the same surgery 5 years ago. Now I garden, I walk, I can climb stairs and I’m so happy. Your Alice will be happy to and she will be ok. May I hug you again?” As the tears flowed from us both I couldn’t help but think “Only a few hours before this incredible woman that was consoling me now was the butt of my negative whispers.” I thanked her and left her where she stood. I looked up and said “I’m sorry and yes I got the message loud and clear.”
It wasn’t long after Nancy came to find me and I just had to tell her my story. John arrived back at the hospital. We decided to ask Nancy to join us for lunch while we waited for Mom to be taken to her room after recovery. I decided we needed something relaxing and with a bit of fun. We went south on Yonge St. to the Merche’. It’s such a great place. It’s very much like a market style with a higher end restaurant feel. We spent a good time just walking about checking out all the food choices. It was the perfect spot to help us escape from the present. If your thinking of heading out for a dining experience unlike no other. This would be the one. It’s the spot for guest travelling to the city to because it’s right in the heart of this great city.
You never know where love is going to come from. You can’t plan or know who will hold you up when you feel like you are going to fall. So the next time that stranger gets under your skin, remember they could be your angel unawares.
Happy Belated Valentine’s Day.
St. Michael’s Hospital
5 kisses out of 5!!!!!
5 kisses out of 5
181 Bay , Toronto , ON , M5J2T3