“Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.
One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon
to help drain the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next to the room’s only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.
The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and
families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service,
where they had been on vacation.
Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he
would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he
could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world
would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played
on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked
arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city
skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the
man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this
One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.
Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see it in his
mind s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive
Days, weeks and months passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only
to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died
peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants
to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be
moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch,
and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first
look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the
window beside the bed.
It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate
who had described such wonderful things outside this window.
The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the
wall. She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.‘
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own
situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.”
The author for this short story is unknown. However, the original story, which this was taken from, was written by Harry Buschman. Titled The Man by the Window, It is much more detailed, and therefore will take a bit longer than a minute to read, but I highly recommend you give it a go.