[Photo credit: Mel Brown]
The moment happened a few hours ago. I was probably sitting in Starbucks on Broadway and 75th Street when the time came and went. I was aware of the time, but I was likely checking my email. Our apartment wifi was dead for the time being.
It was an arbitrary time, marked only by a sweeping second hand on an office wall clock. It turned over at 5:00 pm on June 12, 2017. One moment it was 5:00 pm, and then it was another time altogether.
So, what’s so important about this? That changing moment marked the end of a work day for my wife, Mariam…an ordinary work day. But, now, she now has only six days left to the end of her working career, her fifty-one years in health care is coming to a close. That’s a long time of working and an inspiring event to celebrate. Ever since she graduated from the Bellevue School of Nursing, she has changed bed pans, helped AIDS patients, started up a cardiology unit in a hospital, and rose to being the head of the hemophilia treatment center at Mount Sinai Hospital. She also is the president of two boards, both in the bleeding disorders world, in the intensive and competitive world of New York City.
I have expressed my concerns about the vacuum that will enter her life from a powerful position…into retirement. She says she is not concerned. I trust her instincts…but I still worry.
Her boss, Dr. Chris Walsh, is now reviewing aspects of her job.
“I’m going to miss you,” he understated.
I am proud of Mariam’s accomplishments. I am looking forward to when she will be by my side, each day…for years to come…to travel and to sit at home…reading, playing chess, discussing politics and learning new things. We’ll be having a quiet dinner at a small Italian restaurant on 73rd St. on June 21. Yes, June 21, her final day…and the traditional Summer Solstice. How appropriate is that? The longest day of the year. The days will be getting shorter, but I will be there with you, Mariam, to help you through the long winter nights to come. And, I will be there on December 21, the traditional Winter Solstice, when the days begin to grow longer. I know that’s the date you look forward to the most.
I will be there when the black flies come and go and the mesquitos arrive. I’ll be there when the hail hits the roof and the leaves begin to fall. I’ll light the campfire and I’ll play some Leonard Cohen for you on Spotify. I’ll be there to ease you into your years of retirement.
Good luck to you, Mariam. God speed!
Six days can be a long time…after all, that’s how long The Creation took. Let’s hope there’s rest on the seventh day.