He was connected to a ventilator as he was suffering from a respiratory failure, generalized muscle weakness and skin wounds.
A smile on his face was my first encounter with him upon his admission to the hospital. He was not able to talk, and he greeted me with a smile. He made me feel better in his hopeless situation that day.
As days were turning into weeks, and weeks into months his smile stayed with him as it was on day one of his admission . He never had any complaints as I remembered him and I never saw him without a smile. I did ask him reason for his smiley face and his reply was a smile: a genuine smile. I never found out whether he did that intentionally or he had a secret hope.
He remained connected to the string of life via a ventilator and his weakness progressed so much so that he could not move any of his body parts. I witnessed then his smile moved from his face to his eyes but I never saw a tear.
As my connection developed to his widow to soul, I had a great respect for him. I thought then, I was taking care of a soul rather than a failing body. That was my first ever experience of taking care of a living soul in a dying body.
I think a smiley face can be contagious, it can be triggered by just one bright smile but a tearful face usually draw more attention.
To some, a smile may not a have past but a tear usually does have a past; a story or a tragedy.
Others see a smile as a communication to future while a tear as a communication with the past; certainly both connect us to our present.