Edna sat alone by the window, watching the birds on the branches outside. How happy-go-lucky her feathered friends were. Not a care in the world. She glanced at the antique clock, the one she and William had bought on their honeymoon, nearly sixty years ago. Her nurse would be here any minute. Yes, here she was, just drawing up in her car.
Edna shuffled to the door. “Come in, it’s so lovely to see a friendly face.”
“How’s that hip doing, Edna?” Helen asked, following her into the front room. It was like going back in time, with its patterned carpet, display case of china dogs and the large black piano in the corner. She helped Edna into her seat. “Have you been doing the exercises the hospital gave you?”
“I have,” Edna said, patting the exercise sheet on the table beside her.
“Let me examine you.” Helen unzipped her bag and bringing out the blood pressure machine. “You are doing wonderfully well for someone in their eighties,” she said.
Edna accepted Edna’s offer of a cup of tea. Although she was very busy, she always made time for a chat with her older patients. It was important that they did not feel isolated, lonely, or depressed. Health as all-encompassing: mind, body, and spirit.
Munching on a home-made scone, she listened while Edna told her about a gentleman who had been at the bowling club for the first time a few weeks before. “His name is John. He’s a widower,” Edna said, two red spots that appearing on her wrinkled cheeks.
“You’ll see him again, won’t you?” Helen asked. “No reason to think you won’t be bowling again soon.”
“I’m not sure,” Edna said. “He was trying out the club to see if he liked it. He might not come back.”
The bowling club was on Helen’s way home. Although she was hungry and thirsty, she had time to stop and ask if anyone knew John.
“He’s in the corner,” replied the barman, nodding towards an elderly gentleman.
“What can I do for you?” John asked.
“I was wondering if you remember Edna? She’s -”
John’s eyes lit up. “Yes, I remember her. She hasn’t been back though.” A frown crossed his face. “Is she all right?”
Helen explained that Edna couldn’t get out at the moment. She was wondering how to approach the idea of him visiting her, when he said, “I must go and see her. Where does she live?”
Helen hesitated. She couldn’t give out Edna’s details.
“I know where she is,” someone said. “I gave her a lift home a couple of times.”
The next time Helen went to see Edna, John was there, sitting in the sunroom, a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face. As he left, he squeezed Edna’s hand and said he’d be back the next day. Helen was delighted. Two people in their eighties, falling in love again! Who would have thought it possible? And it might never have happened if she hadn’t intervened. She had brought a bit of happiness into the lives of two people who were feeling lonely and isolated.
A few months later, Edna was on the list of people to visit. Fearing the worst, she called as soon as she could. Edna opened the door looking smart in a floral dress, a beaming smile on her face.
“I just wanted you to know that John and I are getting married,” she said, holding out a card. “You will come to the wedding, won’t you?”
The ceremony was held at the local church and most of the bowling club were there. Helen took lots of photos and promised to make up a wedding album for the couple. As she left the reception, the light began to fade. Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn, she thought.