We visited my friend in a care facility last weekend. Laura and I hurried down the hall, smiling at all the old ladies. My friend was so happy to have company. My visits are shorter and shorter every time, because Jean gets tired and frustrated with the struggle of remembering who I am. Perhaps I need to make friends with more people in the hall; so many want to be visited.
I left, ruefully considering the halls are empty, but the walls lined with old women. The twenty years I was a mother, their dad and I got the children to their grandparents almost weekly. When the girls left home, and my dad had passed away, mom came to visit often, and to stay. I visited my grandmother, drove her to family gatherings, even to my dad’s funeral.
(Dad did not like Gram; nursing her family’s insults of him being a “poor shanty Irishman.” Mom intended not to have Gram at the funeral. She told me she didn’t have time to go get her. I did, but didn’t tell Mom, who was surprised. Later, Mom thanked me.) Sometimes you need to get over yourself.
Laura is going to Pittsburgh this weekend, with our friend Kay, who bought the old house. They’re going to Ikea, to purchase either a bed or a table for a rental home of Kay’s. I confess, I no longer remember which, though I suppose they could be interchangeable, in a pinch. (You should avoid brain injuries; recovery is so slow as to be miniscule.)
How to strike up a conversation? Should I pretend to be looking for something I lost? I could find it later. Or just be straightforward. “Hello. My name is Joanne. I’m here to see a friend, but I need to rest a minute. What’s your name?”
I can’t go until Sunday, so any other suggestions are welcome.