Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Locked Doors

One recent afternoon, I took a few minutes to go visit with
my husband's aunt in our local nursing home facility.
Aunt Mary's face lighted up when she saw me
and I instantly regretted not coming sooner.
You see, just a few days ago she lost her beloved companion
whom had been by her side for over 70 years.
And now she is alone.
Alone in a strange room, an unfamiliar place, sharing the space
with someone else that is alone.
Through no fault of her family that loves here dearly,
she cannot live out of these surroundings on her own.

Aunt Mary, like her sister who was my mother-in-law,
has Alzheimer's.
Her mind can still be quite sharp &  she usually knows who I am
and calls me by my name.
But as she talks, I realize that she thinks I am someone from "home"...
from her past...where she is living today.

I try not to mention her husband, yet she remembers &  begins to talk about him.
I don't mention her daughter, their only child,
 that they lost not too many years ago.
I don't mention the two sisters &  two brothers
that have made their final journey,
 some many years ahead of her.

We visit & talk about springtime,
about our gardens, about things that will not trouble her
and she seems content.

I looked at the clock & saw that it was time for me to go.
And she followed me
to that locked door,
holding on to my arm,
wanting to go with me...
and it broke my heart to have the nurse gently take her by the hand
and lead her back to her new friends
and I looked away from her to the hallway ahead
and hated it when I heard the heavy thud of that locked door.


Karen Walden said...

Sweet Mary... Makes me sad. What a horrible disease. I remember getting that same feeling when we would go see Grandma and she would walk us to the door and we would have to call for someone to come and get her and make sure she didn't get out... :(

Anonymous said...

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