In a conversation the other day with a resident, she was telling me how much she enjoyed painting. She is, in my opinion, an accomplished artist. I told her how envious I was of people who could capture an image with their minds eye and transfer it to a canvas, leaving their depiction of something specific for all to enjoy long after they have left this Earth.
I told her I try to do the same thing except for the fact that I do not use a brush to transfer what I am feeling or seeing in my mind. Instead I use the written word. We attain our subjects in the same way. Either through something we have seen, experienced, or sometimes imagined.
From that point forward there are subtle, yet extreme, differences. My palette is a keyboard through which I try to project images and emotions on to a screen. Hopefully, if I do it well, it will elicit images and emotions from the reader.
Her palette is a complicated mixture of colors that each invoke their own emotion. Like an alchemist searching for the combination that will bring forth gold she can bring forth a physical response with the correct combination. When she has the desired hue to make one feel lonely…happy…sad or stormy she will transfer it to canvas.
While I was trying to explain to her how similar we are she simply said, ” O.K. Do me something in yellow.”
This may take a while.
Patience is stretched thin
With all their wants and needs.
It’s time to get them up again
Sit them down, begin the feed
Their rooms are always hot
Sometimes it’s hard to breathe.
Glancing at the clock a lot
It’s almost time to leave.
Getting home at midnight
To enjoy some needed rest
Fall asleep in the chair,
Head nodding on my chest.
I wake in the middle of the night
My back is stiff and bent.
I shuffle to the bathroom light
My energy is spent
My eyes are weak and blurred
I lean closer so I can see.
A scream that can’t be heard
An old man in the mirror…staring back at me
( We should never forget…Your road may lead you here )
Today my brother will drive to Macon and sign the papers that will turn our childhood home over to people we do not know. This happens tens of thousands of times a day in this country. In most cases the seller would be happy and in some maybe not so much.
I don’t know if the new owners have children or if they are young or old. I wonder if the mortar and brick and the sheetrock and paint have absorbed the emotions, happy and sad, of the fifty years that our family lived and died within those walls. I wonder when they walk from room to room if they smile and don’t know why.
There is know way for them to know that the natural gas hook up in the corner of the den was the preplanning of the young couple that built that house. In 1973 when the freak blizzard in February dropped eighteen inches of snow over night in Macon, a young couple and their four small children were cuddled up and cozy in one room with a space heater while the rest of the area shivered for days with no electricity to power their furnaces.
I wonder if they have figured out what the hot and cold water supply is doing on the back porch in the middle of a brick wall. Will they ever guess that the young couple had a shower on the back porch so their two wild boys could strip down and wash the red Georgia clay off before they came inside the house.
They could never know that young ladies of dating age were sitting, ready and waiting, in their rooms upstairs while the father sat and stared without blinking or speaking at the sixteen year old boys who have come to take his daughters out on a date. Only after he was satisfied they had suffered enough would he take them to the bottom of the steps and call his daughters down (the younger brothers enjoyed watching this routine immensely).
Could the new owners ever know that at the porch window a young mother sat sewing clothes for her children wearing a tape measure and belt around her neck. The tape measure was for obvious reasons…the belt was to remind her boys there was no running in the house, which she could do without looking up or missing a stitch. I think she could take a fly out in midair and never look up.
And how could the new owners know that fifty years later one of those wild boys carried the lifeless bodies of that young couple out of that front door. They could never know any of these things…it’s just a house.
We have several husband and wife couples at the facility where I work. I work at a nursing home. It is the most rewarding and gratifying task I have ever performed. To have the opportunity to restore dignity and self esteem to these people is an honor and a privilege I do not take lightly. But I would like to tell you about one couple in particular.
The husband was a big man. A “mans man ” some might say. He was retired military and a veteran of the Korean war. Regardless of the care we had to give him, and some of it was very painful, we never left his room without him whispering in a weak, hoarse voice…thank you Eddie.
His wife was equally gracious. I assisted her to bed one night and told her she was light on her feet, like a dancer. She smiled and said that dancing was one of her and her husbands favorite things. I imagined they were a striking couple. Both tall with beautiful smiles and quiet, unassuming, yet overwhelming personalities.
The husband died this past Saturday. The wife just a few hours later.
I can not help but smile when I think about them. I imagine that while the wife was taking her last breath the husband was standing right there over the bed with his hand out, pulling her out of the bed and her tired body into an embrace that they both have been waiting to share for a long time.
I imagine she laid her head on his chest and smiled while he spun her round and round the way he did so many years ago. I wonder if they were announced when they walked into heaven hand in hand as Mr and Mrs…
And I feel like I can almost hear him as they walk away, looking back over his shoulder with his arm around his young beautiful wife, say in a strong but tender voice…Thank you Eddie…
You’re so very welcome friend.