I fell asleep right after dinner and had a dream. I thought I’d write about it. I think it’s the sum total of what I’ve been going through and I just wanted to get it out of my head and share it with you. I hope you like it.
It’s a typical story that unfolds so slow and subtle, sort of like a fire that dies out so slowly that you forget about it long before it finally disappears. I’m sure it’s a real story somewhere in a quiet back room of a three bedroom family home somewhere in America.
The family car pulls up the driveway. The family is all waiting in the doorway with prepared smiles and a prior briefing to be on their best behavior. The home consist of a father, mother, five year old twin boys Sean and Jon, and seven year old Nina. Grandma’s coming to live with them. We have made special preparations for this occasion and finally the day is here. Dad’s Mom is moving in with our family and we are glad about it. “Smile kids, Mom whispers as the car comes to a halt. We can see Grandma waving from the passenger side of the car. Dad pops out and runs around the side of the car, opens the door and lovingly assist Grandma out the vehicle. Mom is smiling and waving, Little Nina is holding up a small sign that she made with construction paper and crayons, “Welcome Home Grandma!!” while the boys are jumping up and down and wrestling. Underneath the joy of her moving in, you can sense an unspoken feeling of anxiety that cannot be communicated but clearly felt by all.
As they make the doorway, the children are cheering, hugging and offering kisses to Grandma. Everybody is chanting, “Welcome Home Grandma!!” Dad says, “Okay kids, move out the way, let me get Grandma to her room and situated. Nina pleads, “ Can I show Granny where her room is Dad?” Of course Nina, lead away!!” Dad says. Nina becomes an instant professional tour guide with voice to match. She gives Grandma the tour of the home with each room explained all the way up to Grandma’s room. As Dad eases his Mom into her room, Grandma notices that the room has been freshly painted and decorated with all of the pictures and keepsakes of her past plus old furniture to give her a sense of home.
She individually thanks Dad, Mom, and the twins for their kindness. She especially thanks Nina for the wonderful tour of the home and welcome sign. Dad gets Grandma situated and thanks her for agreeing to come and move in with the family. Ok Mom, I’ll give you some time to get settled in and of course, anything that you need please feel free to ask and we will be more that to get it for you. He welcomes her home, kissed her on the cheek and pulls her door closed.
Grandma slowly walks around the room admiring all of the care and attention to detail that has been placed into preparing this room for her liking. She smiles with gratitude and appreciation. As she looks around the room, she identifies old pictures in new frames. Her and her deceased husband Bob’s wedding picture almost seventy years ago. They were two young kids in their early twenties back then. All pictures of past event, family and friends of yesterday and from a time that is no more. The smile slowly leaves her face as she sees a picture of the home that her and her husband built and raised all of their children. Her home is long gone and now she has a new home. The inconvenience of age and Dementia has eased in and the Doctor’s recommendation is that Mom can no longer live successfully unassisted. Time changes things.
Of course, Grandma never would have agreed to leave her own home even though she agrees that she is a bit slower and more forgetful. The aging process is so slow at times that it is difficult for the patient and the family to adjust without the proper counseling and direction. I’ve never wanted to be a burden or inconvenience to anyone especially not my children. Grandma sits and cries tears of sadness for what was and at the same time tears of joy for what is. She reaches over to the nightstand and rubs the Bible that she had owned for at least the last fifty years. She whispers, “Lord, you brought me this far, I trust you’ll see me the rest of the way.” She has come a long way. Her husband, sisters, brother, and most of all of her friends have gone on to be with the Lord. All others she has lost contact with long ago. This a new life that is going to take some getting use to.
Fast forward ten year and Grandma’s condition has progressed. A nurse has been hired to come in daily to assist Grandma with her daily medications and check-ups. Her place of peace seems to be the rocking chair near her window, where she sits and looks out all day. “She doesn’t talk or remember much,” Dad explains to the children as they are filled with so many questions. Dad and Mom secretly struggle with Grandma’s declining condition. Let’s just try to make her as comfortable as possible.
As Grandma has gotten older, she hasn’t forgotten how to talk, she has chosen not to. Everything is so different now. Change has raced beyond her control and comprehension. I have been displaced and tossed into a whirlwind of change. Life seems easier to just listen and watch versus fight to keep up and understand. Computer technology, buttons, cellphones, Facebook, and internet all seem like foreign terms of a world that Grandma is not accustomed to and not welcomed. Her resolve is simple. Sit in her rocking chair with her favorite blanket and bible on her lap. She prefers to sit in the window and watch nature and God’s creation go about its everyday task. The birds, the squirrels, the trees, and the leaves, all bring a peace to Grandma.
Outside the window is a forest filled with tree and vegetation too thick to walk through. It houses the beauty of nature and God’s best and to Grandma’s surprise, every now and then, a family of deer rummage right outside her window. She has witnessed birds build nest, raise their chicks, and watch them all fly away. She has observed the seasons and colors change in the forest over and over again and it’s fascination.
She feels as though she is from another world. I don’t dress like them, talk like them or think like them. They don’t understand me and I don’t understand them. If men are from Mars and women from Venus, then young people are from Jupiter and old folks are from Saturn.
One day, the caregiver suggest that she take Grandma for a ride in the car and she agrees. She loves the new view and smiles often. They stop to take a stroll in the local park. As the caregiver, slowly pushes the wheelchair down the path of the park, Grandma notices in the distance, a caregiver pushing an old man down the trail in their direction. The old man’s head his hung down as if the stroll has put him to sleep. They both look up at the same time and see each other. As the wheel chairs pass they both look and slightly nod. Each week they make the same trip and both seniors seem to pep up for the occasion. As the caregivers get acquainted, they both agree to sit the seniors on the bench together and see what happens. To their surprise, two people who have not talked in years, started talking to one another. As time went by, they became the best of friends right on that park bench. They laughed and talked about old times and a world that they both came from. From that day forward, the only time that either one of them would talk, was on that park bench and to one another.
They were from another world..
Be patient with people from a different world. One day, your world will change.
I hope you find a fellow alien on the park bench to talk to.
I love you