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.