Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I've got a Mansion just over the Hillside.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. Mom says "You know why they call this a rest home?" she continuous "That's all people do here is rest!' Don't think that the Wesleyan doesn't have a full time activities staff, a full time physical therapy staff, a full time speech therapy staff and lots of volunteers that push, pull, coach, tempt, tug and literally beg the residents to do something else. Like most the residents, mom just likes to sit in her recliner and watch TV. Mom uses hand gestures when talking about PT, she holds up her hands and rolls little circles. "I saw you today!" Mom tells her friends, rolling the little cirles to indicate they were in the PT room together. Her friends reply by imitating riding a little tricycle with their feet. I try to remind them "Now come on, it's not so bad, if you don't use it, you lose it." This common declaration just gets the rolling of the eyes response. Why don't they like it? It could be that they never liked exercise, it could be that they tried it for awhile but didn't get any results quick enough. The reasons are as numerous as why younger folks do not work out. I've noticed Mom doesn't like games that children normally play. Mom refuses to get involved in anything like batting big rubber balls, painting by number or balloons. She liked Bingo when they gave away quarters. She had nothing to spend the quarters on but she liked to keep her winnings in her little black purse. "I don't want to play Bingo anymore because now they give away those stupid little stuffed animals." She tells her friend Lola, "and where am I going to put them anyway?" Everyone is not like Mom, many other residents like the games and many others like their stuffed animal winnings. They cuddle them and hang them on their wheel chairs as if they are trophies. "To each his own!" mom says, shaking her head "no" in stubborn protest as if to protect what dignity she has left as a sane adult. Some of the residents carry around life like looking dolls, treating them like real babies. People say that as you grow older, you become just like a child again. People have to change your diaper, bathe you, temper tantrums occur as well as crying and throwing up. It's cute when babies do it but not so pleasant for old people. The problem is they obviously don't feel like children. You can't run, jump and play with all that energy and curiosity. There is that mansion to think about,the one that everyone sings about. " It's just over the hillside, in that bright land where we'll never grow old." I often envision my mother and father smiling, singing, skipping and running up a hill covered in blue bonnets with a pail of cool clean water that they just collected from a beautiful rolling brook, just like Jack and Jill. Dad leans over and kisses her softly and says "I knew you would get here sooner or later!"

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