The Yellow Caterpillar

It must have looked like a mountain from below, but there was no stopping the yellow caterpillar. Up and over,up and over, crawling slowly over the rocks. Roger and I were sitting on our favorite bench,taking a break from walking around Rogers shrinking world. We were watching the yellow caterpillar move, and Roger said it was heading for a tree a few feet away. After he got sick, Rogers’ travels on foot had gone from a few miles, to just around the block. Right then the yellow caterpillar was his “find” and he calmly focused on it. Insects were very interesting to Roger. One day he buzzed for help several times so he could warn all the staff , according to his book, it was female mosquitos that bit, so watch out for female mosquitos! He was so earnest because he was innocent, and forgot how to lie and manipulate. Roger noticed that the yellow caterpillar was going off course, so he asked me to pick up a small stick and help him go the right way. I redirected the caterpillar and all was well. We watched until Roger was sure the caterpillar would reach the tree. We slowly made our return trip, and Rogers’ attention shifted from the yellow caterpillar to what was for lunch.

That was the way it was. We went for a walk whenever it was a nice day and Roger felt up to it. When it was raining, we had options for indoor fun. We put puzzles together, and if Roger sometimes forced pieces to fit, nobody cared that his puzzles looked a bit “off”. If he wanted to “read”, he could pick the books. We called it good if Roger could point to what we asked for. I can still “see” the book on bears and wolves he loved. Of course, his books on insects were some of his favorites. Playing the dice game “Zilch” was his all time favorite pastime. I saved pages and pages of score sheets from the hundreds of games we played. It’s hard for me to look at them without imagining his face when he got a good roll. The game was a way to get Roger to join and engage with us and vice versa.

Sunday’s were “Ann” days. Roger knew if it was Sunday, my sister Ann came to visit. The three of us, Ann, Roger and I, had our “special” activities. Ann and Roger were bonded by unconditional love, and together in acceptance. We looked at the birds in the cage and waited for them to chirp. Roger was now in a wheelchair so we pushed him down to the “plant” room so he could touch the giant leaves on the elephant plant. Roger could see pretty well with his glasses on, but seemed to need more sensory input, so he often touched things.

Roger had a bear which he named “Steve Alvin”. He was proud to bring the bear to the entry where I came in, so Steve Alvin could say hello too. He loved to rub his face in Steve Alvins’ fur. There is a box in safekeeping, with very special things from his room. Steve Alvin is one of the things in it, and when I am ready, I will open the box.

I remember that once Ann and I lost a card game and were joking that we were losers. Roger thought for a moment and said ” No you are not losers, you are runners up.” He won our hearts.

3 thoughts on “The Yellow Caterpillar”

  1. Tears were welling up, yet there was also a smile on my face as I read this. Such poignant reminders of what life and love are really all about.
    I appreciate that you put precious memories into words and share them with us. Thank you.


  2. This is so poignant. Thanks!
    Love the “not losers but runner-ups.”
    I miss you Roger. It’s a good day to “do a Roger” – go outside and notice and appreciate something and walk.


    1. I don’t know why , but I have been crying all week. I miss Roger so much on some days that I think the beautiful day is just a waste because Roger isn’t here.


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