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Honey Flows by Jane Lillian Vance

I saw a beautiful young woman standing at a distance from me as I worked. I noticed her watching several interactions. Eventually, I asked if she were an artist--and she approached, barely able to hold herself together, and introduced herself. She was the oldest grandchild and her hero (grandfather) was dying. We had an amazing talk. She asked if I would accompany her upstairs to visit her grandfather, and I considered it a tremendous honor. He was surrounded by family and we had healing arts connections we enjoyed sharing with one another.

 

Back in the lobby, a man approached "Honey Flows" as I was painting. I greeted him and he acknowledged me with an almost imperceptible nod. He was dressed all in camou, a working man. His arms were crossed. His stance was wide. Eventually he spoke, looking straight at the painting as he did: "Got an uncle upstairs, probably dying. When I was little, he kept a farm. Taught me everything I know. And he used to dig post holes by hand, and set in those posts, with exactly the same care you are using on this painting." Then he turned to me--this burly man--with tears, gave me a light hug, and walked away, saying with a broken voice, "Thank you for being here."

 

An old gentleman--had to be 96, 97--thin as crêpe paper--moving lightly, almost weightlessly--came into the hospital, pushing his elderly wife in a wheel chair. Their progress was unbelievably slow, and I was surprised when I realized he was aiming her wheelchair to stop just behind me. I turned, quietly, and softly introduced myself. They smiled wanly but did not speak. They were both looking at the painting. I explained my position with Carilion and eventually began working again. After what seemed ages, from behind me, the gentleman--surprisingly sonorously--spoke:  "Young lady," he addressed me, "You see what you've done. You've made my wife cry. She can no longer speak. And she cries like this only when she is very happy. Thank you for being here."

 

 

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