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.

This Strange Whiteness

Hello everyone. The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is AFRAID. A word with so many shades, from embarrassed to reluctant to a bit fearful to terrified.

I’m afraid — somewhat embarrassed, that is — that I’ve been very slow to respond. Today I’ve been occupied with a sewing project. And I’m afraid — reluctant to admit and say — that I won’t be doing much blogging for a couple of weeks, as I MUST attend to other important things that have been piling up.

As long as nothing goes “BUMP” in the night, I’m not seriously fearful about anything right now.

Here’s a poem about fear, and how fearful folks with dementia sometimes feel. They know something’s wrong; they sense that their mind isn’t working like it should; and (if they’re still with it enough) they wonder how much more confused they’re going to get.

My verse probably needs some help and I’m open to suggestions how I can improve it.

Wandering in a strange whiteness
I’ve lost my mind in a snowbank,
I’m half frozen — and the wind
has blotted out what I should know;
memories buried in snow.

Perhaps I know you, but the blur
drifting across my eyes today
has made vague shrouds
of the familiar. I can’t recall
in these grey, blinding clouds,
who I once was, or how…
I’m related to you, you say?
I’m afraid I’ve forgotten.

How I wish some breeze
could blow this fog out of my mind;
melt this snow, warm my bones,
show me where I should be,
I hate to have to sit here
half the day, blind and frozen.

She’s Somewhere Else

Dementia

Grandma’s somewhere else
though she sits beside me.
Though I hold her hand
and we chat about little things
she might remember.

I didn’t tell her
it rained again last night,
that fall is here; the trees are bare.

Today’s rain can’t touch her;
Grandma’s somewhere else
where the trees are ever green–
where she barely hears my voice.

— C.G. (2013)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I wrote this story as my Friday Flash Fiction contribution this week.
The exactly-100-words story posted was yesterday on Friday Tales:

A LIGHT LOOK

That streetlight looks so familiar, Adina thought. But where’s Henry? Why has he left me here?

“Mom. Stop!” Adina turned and saw Judy running down the sidewalk toward her.

“You were to stay in the house and wait for me, Mom.”

“But I have to find Dad. We’re supposed to go somewhere.”

Judy took her by the arm. “You have an appointment, remember. I’m taking you. I just stopped for a quick pee first.”

Adina chuckled. “You’re too old to pee, Judy.”

Judy burst out laughing, wiping away a tear. “Come on. Let’s get in the car.”

Why does she cry when she laughs? Adina wondered. What’s wrong with that girl?