“Your daughter is here,” she said to the old lady. In response, the old lady opened her pained and weakened eyes.
Extremely drowsy and dizzy from the effects of the of the heart attack, she could make out a faint outline of a young woman standing in the doorway. She reached out her hand and the young woman wrapped her manicured fingers around the old woman’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love, warmth, and calmness.
The nurse brought a chair so that the woman could sit beside the bed. All through the night the lady sat there in the poorly lighted ward, clasping the old woman’s frail hands and offering her words of love and strength.
Every time the nurse came in, she noticed how the woman in the chair was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the laughter, the sorrows, the clanks and bangs of equipment everything faded away and she focused her compassion on the women in the bed.
Now and then she heard her say a few gentle words. The dying woman said nothing, only held tightly to her beloved daughter all through the night.
Along towards dawn, the old woman peacefully died. The lady let go off the now lifeless hands she had been cuddling all night long and went to tell the nurse. While the nurse worked on wrapping everything up, the woman waited outside.
Finally, the nurse came out and started to offer words of sympathy, but the young lady interrupted her.
“Who was that woman?” she asked.
The nurse was extremely confused, “What do you mean? She was your mother!”
“No, she wasn’t,” the lady insisted. “I never saw her before in my life!”
The nurse was beyond shocked.“ What! Are you serious? Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to her?”
The woman replied “I knew as soon as I saw the lady there had been a huge mistake, she looked nothing like my mother, but I also knew she needed her daughter right now, and she just wasn’t here. When I realized that she was too sick to tell whether or not I was her daughter, knowing how much she needed me, needed my compassion, comfort, and support, I stayed.”