Natalie enjoyed listening to the rain hammering against the conservatory roof.
The carers here would complain that she would catch a chill, and wrap her up in blankets to keep her warm. It was cold in here, it bit deep into her bones easily, her thin skin barely keeping her bones protected now. The rings on her fingers, hers and Ben’s, were cold as well.
But the cold was a reminder, it was a sharp, painful, reminder that she still lived with every rattling breath. It was like waiting in God’s waiting room, waiting to die.
Her daughters hated this place, but she quite liked it. It was calm, peaceful, surrounded by other residents who were all at the same place in life as she was. The carers were kind to her, they would listen to her stories as they did their rounds, they would bring her notebook for her to write in, even though her fingers could barely grip a pen.
Aging was a strange, surreal experience. Natalie didn’t feel young in her mind, but she could still slip into her memories when she had as much energy as the carers who looked after her. She would hold onto those memories, of a life well lived, that would keep her company on the lonely days. Without Ben, life seemed a little bit duller, even though she kept pressing on as he would want her to.
Natalie’s daughters were scared for her. She could see it in their eyes when they visited, their whispered words where they were having to deal with the inevitable process. Sometimes, Natalie wished she lacked the capacity like some of the other resident who didn’t understand. At least then she would not be meeting death with her full faculties.
Despite her daughter’s worries, she wasn’t scared. She wasn’t religious, she wasn’t sure if she believed in the afterlife, but she liked to think that Ben would be in another place so they could be together again. It was a human wish, to be with the one you loved for so many years, and it gave her comfort.
But now, she just listened to the rain hammer down on the roof as it lulled her to sleep.
Maybe, one day, I’ll see you again, Ben she thought, maybe.