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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

the nursing home

I might have mentioned earlier on this blog that my grandma is suffering from dementia. Recently her condition has been deteriorating quickly and my family has decided to move her into an assisted care facility. My parents have been going the extra mile taking care of her in their home (my mom's a nurse) but she frequently wakes up at night and stays up for hours, tries to wander off. Often they'll take her somewhere and she'll refuse to get out of the car (also for hours). She'll say she wants to go to mass and that she needs to get home to take care of her mother. She seems to change the time period she's living in (mentally) frequently.

Anyhow, when I was a kid, my mom and I lived with an old lady for a while. Her name was Adelaide Bartlett. Once she got a bit older she also had to move into a nursing home. We used to give her rides to church quite a bit during that time. What I mainly remember is her wanting to die and asking why God hadn't taken her. Her conversation was singularly focused on that theme. When she died, I inherited a few of her things, mostly antique trinkets. Among the things was this poem. Adelaide, unlike my grandma, remained lucid until the end. She probably wrote this not long after she first entered the nursing home (since it doesn't overly emphasize the "I want to die" theme).
The Nursing Home

The nursing home is a
place to retreat
And all our lives
are in defeat

So often we just sit and wait
Wondering what will be our fate

The workers there are
too few, the best they can
we hope they do.

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