Salmon Run

He was a preacher.
They’d checked him into the nursing home.
He was wheelchair-bound.
He had dementia and required a lot of medical attention.
So his wife checked him into the home.
She came to visit him every day
but noticed his smile and his light was fading.
One day, he said he wished he could go home.
So, it was decided. They planned together to make the trip.
One last trip together
to the place he was born.
He wanted to see the ocean tide.
to hold her hand and sit on the sand.
One last time.
She sold the house, sold all the possessions.
She bought an old van.
She took out the couches and made him a bed.
She made it wheelchair accessible.
She stocked up the van with everything they would need.
Her eye sight was bad.
Her hearing even worse.
She worried they wouldn’t make it.
There would be dangers up and down the road.
They had to cross 10 states to get there.
Plus his health was failing fast.
Nevertheless, they sat together and mapped out the route carefully.
He waited for the day.
On the day he left, I saw him sitting outside in the wheelchair.
He had got up early and waited two hours in advance to be picked up. He was smiling.
It was their final salmon run upstream – against the current, against the odds,
and they were doing it together.
No matter what.

In Sickness and In Health

He had Covid. He’d been sick for days. They sat together in the moonlight of the back porch of their little home listening to music together. She felt melancholic. He picked out a song and asked her to dance. It was their wedding song. They swayed back and forth moving slowly to the familiar tune. She held him closer than she had her wedding day and burrowed her face near his neck where her silent tears could fall.