Rest easy, Alex McRea
June 9, 2009 · 11:16 AM
I had the pleasure of meeting Alex and Margaret McRea three years ago when he was a patient at San Juan Physical Therapy.
Two things stood out from that initial encounter: The first was that, after 60 plus years of marriage, they were as courteous and solicitous of each other as a couple on a first date. The second was the sense of purpose and determination that Alex exhibited throughout his therapy. (He was a mere pup of 91 at the time).
After his discharge, he continued on a voluntary twice a week program of exercise. On snow days, when half our schedule cancelled, Alex showed up. His goals were as modest and practical as his attitude in life: “I just want to keep moving,” he would say.
My assistance was little more than pushing buttons and standing nearby to guide him to his next activity, but he was always warm and gracious in his thanks for my meager efforts. When I would ask if he’d like a rest before continuing on, his response was unvaried: “Gosh, if it’s not too much trouble, I guess I could sit for a minute or two.”
He was pragmatic to the end. He worried his rare and minor complaints caused undue work for the staff charged with his comfort. He expressed his concern that Margaret would continue with the regular maintenance of their 30-year-old vehicles so that she might have reliable transportation for her church functions. Our easy chats, of local and world events, belied the finality of the situation. His calm journey to the end of the road was a lesson in dignity.
I’m sure his last thoughts were of Margaret and their wonderful life together, but I can almost hear the echo of the unspoken concern in the back of his mind: “Gosh, I hope I’m not causing too much trouble.”
Rest easy, my friend, you’ve been no trouble at all.
With fond remembrance,