Sunday, December 14, 2008


We went to my aunt's nursing home yesterday to be with her during the annual Christmas party.

We genuinely enjoy these parties; even though a lot of the residents don't seem terribly engaged in the proceedings, and even though some family members present look and act as if they're waiting for their own executions. The staff works hard to create a pleasant, positive atmosphere; and I think that celebrations like this are a bright spot in their workdays, too.

When we got there my aunt was in her wheelchair, ready to go; quieter than usual, but communicative. (When Fellow Traveler started singing spontaneous Christmas carols, filling in missing words with strategic humming, my aunt responded, "Don't sing if you don't know the words!" -- then grinned.)

About 10 minutes into the program proper, though, it was obvious that my aunt had had enough and wanted to go back to her room. Her snacks sat uneaten on her plate; the cup of coffee she'd asked for was tipping precariously in her thin white hand. When we asked if she felt unwell, she responded, "No -- I'm just tired." And the way she said that, said the word tired, implied something much more existential than just a desire for sleep.

We stopped in today after church and she was a little more chipper, but she hadn't eaten any of her lunch, not even her fruit juice, and at times she seemed to be in a different place.

We're pretty sure she's getting done whatever she still needs to do in order to leave. Because, as she said, she's just tired, and wants to go home.


Processing Counselor said...

I have my 90+ y/o aunt coming from Ohio to sleep on my fold out couch for the week between Christmas and New Years. I anticipate being very tired. She's mobile if a little shaky on her pins-walks with a quad cane-and we're borrowing a wheelchair for the week. And she likes all the gay women at my Catholic church!

Gilly said...

Tired of life and ready to go. Yes, the very elderly who can know, know his.

Blessings to your Aunt, LC

Rev Scott said...

My grandmother said goodbye to her husband 22 years ago, and this year she might finally get to join him. She's got pneumonia right now, losing weight and sounds pretty lethargic, according to my mother. What a privilege for you to accompany her in these last few steps toward home.