Nurse Tom stood up as he felt Tolu’s grip on his hand release. He looked round the room and felt only pity for the lady lying beside him. Tolu had been talking to her children but there was no one in the room. He wished things could have been different for Tolu but unfortunately life could be tough for some people.
A week ago, Tolu had been brought into the home, having been in hospital for ages before that. She had no family and the only person that seemed to care about her was her equally ancient brother who popped in occasionally.
In one of her lucid periods, she had shared a little bit of her story. It seemed hers was a life of dreaming. In her dreams, she had done a great many things, she had married, become educated, had a family, travelled the world, been admired but in real life, she had been too fearful to actually do any of the things she dreamt about.
Adam, the man she imagined was her husband had been a guy she had gone out with several years ago. Her parents had objected and even though she loved him dearly, she had given into the fears that it would all go wrong. She had walked away from the risk of new love and stayed instead with her parents who she felt were tried and true. She may not have been happy but better the devil you know…
Tolu had then wanted to become a nurse but her parents and friends had talked her out of it by convincing her she was not intelligent enough to be able to withstand the training and also, they said she was too lazy to really be able to make it happen. She considered their arguments and decided again that they must be right. So, another dream gone.
She had decided to become a cleaner as she was very able to do this. She had considered setting up her own little company as she had developed a good stream of clients who loved her work but she worked for a stable company and it seemed too much of a risk to try and set up her own thing so even though she knew she could earn more doing it herself, she settled again and chose security over freedom.
She dreamt of having children but for some reason, she found it too hard to trust a guy and she did not really want to have children by herself so in the end, she woke up and realised she was fifty five years old and not many men were asking her out anymore as she tended to over-analyse anyone that asked her out even once, leaving the poor guys a bit shaken up by the interrogation they faced when they took Tolu to dinner. They tended not to ask again and at the time, Tolu decided they were unworthy of her, refusing to see just how much fear was destroying her future.
Nurse Tom still remembered the look on Tolu’s face as she told him her story – It was one of bleakness and regret. She had finally realised just how much time she had spent in fear of doing anything too different from what people expected of her. The thing was, all these ‘people’ she thought had been watching her had gone on and lived their own lives. She, in the meantime, had dreamt of a lot but managed always to convince herself out of her dreams.
It all seemed a waste! In the end, Tolu had chosen to retreat into her dreams rather than face reality at the end.
Nurse Tom hoped she was happy where she was. He covered her face and went to the office telephone to call for the doctor to come and make the pronouncement of death.
Though Tolu had just physically died, Nurse Tom knew that she had stopped living years ago.
Life is all about risks and it requires you to jump. Don’t be a person who has to look back and wonder what they would have or could have had. No one waits forever.