Seeing Is Believing
I look back now fondly on an event which changed my life forever. It all began when I started working in a nursing home called Wild Oak Home for the Elderly. I was studying to become a nurse is college at the time and I needed the job to gain work experience and money. I starting working there in the Summer and by early Autumn I was a familiar face to everyone there. There was Roger and Phillip who would always play chess. They were extremely sharp for their age of 80 and 85. There was Margaret who was a nurse I got to work with most of my time there. Margaret showed me how to do everything and I owe her a good chunk of my abilities as a nurse. Out of everyone I knew the longest and saw everyday, it would seem odd that the person who affected me most was someone I knew only for a day. Her name was Delilah. She was a resident there for only a week when I met her. She became very ill and, without any family to care for her, she was sent to stay at the home. I can still remember our first meeting like it was yesterday. I walked into the room to lay eyes on a lady with pale skin, long gray hair, and piercing blue eyes. I walked in and introduced myself.
"Hello. My name is Rose. I will be your nurse for the weekend. And you’re Ms....", I said and looked down at my chart to find her name. The woman looked at me with her intense blue eyes.
"You can just call me Delilah. I’ve never been one for proper titles.", She said.
"Okay. Well Delilah how are you feeling today?", I said.
"That doesn’t matter. I know I’m dying.", She said.
"You’re chart says you have had pneumonia for the past week. I wouldn’t say you’re a lost cause. In fact I would say that in a few days you will be feeling better. The fluid in your lungs has been clearing up.", I said.
"Do you always trust what charts have to say?", She said.
"Yes why shouldn’t I? The charts show the data and observations.", I said.
"You are a person of logic. I do not live in the world of logic. I know something because it comes to me as a knowledge from within.", She said.
"If you are talking about intuition or sixth sense then I must tell you I don’t believe in all that mumbo jumbo. I believe in science and reason.", I said.
"Yes. You were like that as a child too. You liked to look through a microscope because you felt like it opened a whole new world to you. You brought it to school once and the other kids broke it. They called you names.", She said.
"I never told anyone about that. How could you know that? It’s not possible. You just had a lucky guess.", I said.
"Lucky. perhaps. But I’m not wrong and that has rattled you.", She said.
"What other things do you ‘know’?", I said.
"There are many things I have known over the years but I can not recall any of them. They are mostly small things about people I knew. There is only one thing which I know about myself. My soul animal is a cat. A black cat to be specific.", She said.
"I don’t believe in an afterlife. I don’t believe in what I can’t see.", I said.
"Sometimes believing is seeing my dear. You do not believe in an afterlife but you work here. Everyone here is close to the end of their life. You must wonder what happens after someone dies. You must understand to some degree that this is not a permanent end of existence.", She said.
I was unsure of how to answer this. I didn’t wonder. Science had taught me that the body dies but I never pondered about the soul. What exactly is a soul? How can you quantify it?
"I see I have puzzled you and with that my question has been answered. This thought did not even occur to you.", She said.
"You don’t have any family who can take care of you. Right?", I said.
"No. They are all passed through to the beyond. I have been faced with death many times and I am grateful no one is left to miss me.", She said.
"Did you predict their deaths too?", I said.
I didn’t really believe in any of this but I still was interested in this lady who believed so strongly in something which seemed absurd.
"I did. My soul animal came to me. The black cat warned me about it in my dreams. I think this cat is also a guide of passageways. It’s so of a reaper if you will.", She said.
A question occurred to me but I was unsure of whether I wanted to ask it. It seemed a little bit stupid at the time. All of my mind was against this entire conversation yet part of me still wanted to know.
"I see you are puzzling more over something. Speak your mind child.", She said.
"Are you afraid to die? I’m terrified of even the thought. Where do we go? Where do you think we go?", I said.
"I’m not afraid. I have seen death in so many different forms. It has always been expected. Although I don’t know what it’s like not to expect it. As for where we go. I would like to think a higher plane, heaven, whatever you want to call it.", She said.
"What do we do when we get there?", I asked.
"I don’t know. I guess see people we knew in our lifetimes. Besides that I’m unsure.", She said.
Walking is heard coming down the hall. Margaret pokes her head in the room.
"Rose how about you take your lunch break now. I’ll take over here if you need me to.", Margaret said.
"Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow Delilah. Get some rest.", I said.
"Wait!", Said Delilah holding my hand.
"What is it?", I asked quite confused.
"For you seeing is believing. This is the same for me. Consider this a gift.", She said.
"Okay. Just get some rest now Delilah. I’ll see you tomorrow.", I said.
I walked out of the room very unsure of what just happened. My hands felt red hot and tingly right after she had touched them. I didn’t think much of it. I wondered how much of what Delilah had just told me was the true. I knew it was at least her truth but I wasn’t convinced. I figured she must have gone a little crazy in her old age and the fear of death had scared her into lying to herself. Instead of her existence being cut off and becoming worm food, which was how I saw it at the time, she would become one with love and light. These thoughts pestered me all day and I became very weary with them. Unsure of what to think anymore, it was soon time for bed. I went to sleep quickly but dreamed the most peculiar dream. In my dream I saw a child of about six years of age. She was sitting on the floor in a house library with a black cat on her lap.
"Good kitty.", the little girl said and she pet the cats fur.
The girl noticed me sitting in the chair next to her. She looked up and her amazing blue eyes stared into mine.
"Do you want to pet the kitty?", She said in a soft child-like voice.
I nodded that I did. I got down on the floor and noticed as I looked down at my lap there was a rosebud in my hands. It was only the head. The cat curled up in my lap as its purred loudly. I looked up at the little girl again.
"His name is Shadow. I’m giving him to you so keep him well. I need to go now.", She said.
"I wish you could stay. Is there no way you can stay and perhaps we can share him?", I said.
"My time here is past so I can not stay. The cat belongs to one and one only. May he keep you well.", She said.
I looked down at the warm cat sitting on my lap. It looked up at me with golden yellowish eyes. It jumped off my lap and left in it was the rosebud but it was a rosebud no longer. It had bloomed into a beautiful red rose. I looked up to smile at the little girl but found she was gone. The cat sat close me and rubbed its soft ears against my arm. I was alone in a library with a cat and a rose. Then I woke up from this dream back into the reality I thought I knew. It all washed over me. Yes seeing was believing and I now found myself turned into a believer over night. I went back to the nursing home to find that Delilah had died in her sleep but for once in my life death did not scare me. For once in my life it was expected.