The Nursing Home

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was HABITAT

asia-1822460_640Last night I was reading some poems written by a man visiting his aged mother in the nursing home, and decided to write one myself, about an incident that happened when my Mom-in-law was 97. She had dementia, but not the total loss of Alzheimer’s, so she still had a sense of where she was living.

Wheeling Mom around the nursing home
we find the visitors’ room almost empty today.
Just one old gent in his wheelchair, staring silently
in peaceful meditation — or frustration?

We stop awhile in our rambling – and why not?
We’re just killing time, really. The last hours of a lifetime.
I pick a spot by the picture window and we gaze outside.
Beautiful yard. Even if her vision’s fuzzy, I hope
she can still catch some of the spring colour.

She looks around the huge room, discerning
a bit of the high ceilings and classy woodwork.
“My grandfather built this house,”
she informs the man, with a touch of pride,
not remembering that this isn’t a house.

When we first brought her here she thought
it was a junkyard, the final habitat of old and unwanted.
But that memory’s gone; now, thankfully, she likes
this place her grandpa built — sometimes just worked on.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,”
the old fellow snaps. One of the lucid ones, bad luck.
Held captive here by his lack of mobility, perhaps,
but wheelchairs don’t affect the understanding.

“He did!” Mom insists. “My grandpa built this place
and Uncle Pete helped.” Because didn’t they both live here?
And weren’t they both carpenters? Good ones, too!
She remembers her Dad getting letters from his sister;
she and Uncle Pete did live here, back in the ’30s.

Her dad was blind so she read everything to him,
so she knows. How dare this man contradict her!
Of course she remembers her grandpa. Even Uncle Pete –
if only from those letters Aunt Catherine wrote.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!”
But his harsh retort just bounces off her certainty.
I decide to continue our stroll and wheel her down the hall
while she can still be right – and he’s definitely wrong.

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