I went to a local nursing home to visit my friend. She turned 93 on her birthday yesterday. I hadn’t been able to reach her by phone. Bad timing and bad luck. I would call during a meal that was earlier than I expected, or she would be at physical therapy or a Bible Study down the hall. I could have interrupted, but it seemed best not to. Today though, I felt I ought to go find her. I hadn’t seen her in a month, and I didn’t want her to think I had forgotten her birthday. Her husband was there and told me she was in the cafeteria. Walking to the lunch room I saw faces I recognized, but could no longer put names too, familiar faces from my relatively small town that helped make up the quilt of a place. Seeing their faces again filled in the empty squares. I had missed them and didn’t know it. They were simply in this peaceful place, trying to get well. Some had family coming. Others have outlived their families and work the days as best as they can by reading or talking to the other residents.
When I found my friend’s table, she had a smile upon seeing me. Lunch wasn’t served yet, so we talked some, and caught up. She asked if I had remembered her birthday yesterday, and I told her I had, only I could not find her. She said that they had let her go home with her family for a few hours and enjoy her birthday there. I told her I loved her and gave her the fudge I made, her favourite treat, which she has told me many times that she used to make as a young girl after school. I kissed her and hugged her shoulders and left, again, seeing faces I had not seen in years, some ghostly now, others seeming to recognize me as well. Walking out into the sunshine and sliding my sunglasses from the top of my head to cover my eyes, I felt changed. It was a daily, mundane experience, but I was changed by the love of people for the rest of their town that is slowly becoming another town entirely.
like at your home
birds still sing at your window