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The Man by the Window
by Harry Buschman.
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same Hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the Military service and where they had been on vacation.
Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band, he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, she put him into the wheelchair and after making sure he was comfortable, she went for assistance and left him alone by the window. Slowly, painfully, he strained to slowly turn to look out the window his first look at the real world outside… It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse when she returned and was standing beside him, what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you”.
The original Story by Harry Buschman has been condensed and also adapted more than once but remains the same in its Story line and Focus…
There is tremendous Joy in thinking of the needs of others despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. We can’t help everyone but we can help someone.