My mother walks down the hall and all I hear is her usual bossy tone of voice while she gently strokes the shoulder of the new intern.
Old Lady Mary's screams are getting louder.
"I have to go. I have to go.", she screams.
As I poke my head around the corner, my mother storms in the room and I hit my head on the doorframe.
No preach, not even a harsh word. She runs to her file cabinet and back out the door.
I go to sit down at the desk and start drawing pictures of hearts on my mother's calendar.
I hate this place, it's so boring.
Old people and the smell of disinfectant and urine samples.
I poke my head out again.
I can't see anyone. Nor can I hear Old Lady Mary down the hall.
I tiptoe my way through the echoing halls, trying to find something, anything interesting to do.
As I walk by room Number 188 I start hearing sirens.
The ambulance enters the big double door and runs by me.
So I turn around.
As I approach the room they ran into I see my mother.
Constantly, impulsively checking her watch.The phone rings.
She answers. "No, I assure you everything is ok.", she says.
Looking obviously annoyed she takes the phone into the bathroom to try and calm the person down that is yelling at her so loudly you can hear it passed the machines and doctors giving orders to the interns and nurses.
Old Lady Mary, it's her lying in bed.
She's pale. She's quiet. She's never quiet. I walk around the corner slowly, trying to see if the machine says that her heart is still beating or not.
The line isn't moving.
I've seen this in movies.
I feel like I am in the middle of an episode of ER.
As they try to electrocute her back to life I sneak into the corner area with the big curtain so no one can see me.
It's cold. The window is open.
I close the window and peek through the curtain.
"She's back.", they say. "Good Job everybody!".
I see the line moving again and run out of the room back to the chair by the desk. And I even make it there before my mothers comes back to yell at me.
While my mother is taking care of some food issues in the kitchen I walk back over to Old Lady Mary's room.
She is still quiet, but her eyes are open. She is looking at the window.
"Come in", she says, without even looking in my direction.
Feeling caught and embarrassed I walk in silently.
She turns her face toward me and says: "Sweety, next time I die, please leave the window open, because I can't leave when it's closed."
I never realized how significant that moment was until I got older. Back then it was completely understandable to me. It made sense.
Now it's a sort of deep, spiritual experience of my life that I can't deny.
It's unbelievable how much meaning can get lost in time if you do not trust your beliefs.
I will never forget the words of Old Lady Mary and the incredible spiritual lesson I was taught at the age of 12 and remembered at the age of 24.