A Visit to the Nursing Home

My 98 year old grandfather is sitting in the cafe with his aid when I get there.  They are holding court with a table full of residents.  It’s so easy to see the deficiencies; the wheel chairs, the drool, the hearing aids, chewing with the mouth full.  It’s all outwardly showing for everyone to see.   The clock strikes 4pm, it’s afternoon medicine time.  The aids roll in and out.  The daily flow of the home makes it seem like Bill Murray’s movie,  Ground Hog Day.

If you dig deeper, you realize that although their bodies aren’t what they used to be, the residents of this nursing home are fascinating.   I asked Mr. Cooper about his life.  His father owned a garment manufacturer.  He sold to all the major department stores.  He eventually had to shutter it when the competition got too steep.  Mr. Cooper went to work at Sikorsky for 35 years.

Then, there’s is Regine.  She barely talks.  All you hear is a whisper.  And, she’s missing her teeth, which leaves her with an odd affect to her face.  Yet there is more than meets the eye.  Regine is in her 90s.  She is Belgian and speaks multiple languages.  She was an international lawyer, long before woman held those jobs.  She reads the New York Times cover to cover every single day.  She is always impeccably dressed.  Today, she had on a sweater with a matching Matisse scarf.  Magnificent!  I want to know her more but every time we mention her past, she brushes us off with a wave of the hand.  What does that wave mean?  I’m too humble to tell you?  It was too long ago?  It just doesn’t matter anymore?   It’s too hurtful to discuss?

I want to interview them all and write a book.  Not a book for publication, but a book to fulfill my curiosity.  Who are all these people?  What did they accomplish in their life?  What is the legacy that they are leaving behind?

I hope someday if I’m in the same situation, people will notice me.  Notice me for my accomplishments, for the deep love I gave to that which is important to me.  I hope people look beyond the physical limitations and want to have meaningful conversations with me.  So, I continue to give the gift of asking and listening to the residents every time I’m there.  The world goes round and round.

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About Jill Merriam

I am a car dealer (http://www.keycars.com), a Mom to my little loves and a wife to my hubby Rob. I am addicted to my mission to be help people drive nicer, newer cars, leadership development and leading a fulfilling life. I hope you enjoy my musings.
This entry was posted in Family, Health and wellness, personal growth, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Visit to the Nursing Home

  1. Joseph Schwartz says:

    What a thoughtful, insightful piece you have written, Jill. And what experiences you have when you visit your grandfather. It called to mind when I was much younger and visited my paternal grandfather on Long Island with my parents at his nursing home. While I did not get to chat with the residents, I played the piano for them in their community room and saw their faces when I played imagining what they must have been thinking. Had I been older, I might have talked with them. Love, Aunt Mara

    Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2016 04:06:02 +0000 To: schwartzjoseph@hotmail.com

  2. Joseph Schwartz says:

    And ditto for this as well.

    M.

    ________________________________ From: Joseph Schwartz Sent: Sunday, February 21, 2016 3:49:43 PM To: Jill Merriam’s Life Adventures Outside Key Hyundai Subject: RE: [New post] A Visit to the Nursing Home

    What a thoughtful, insightful piece you have written, Jill. And what experiences you have when you visit your grandfather. It called to mind when I was much younger and visited my paternal grandfather on Long Island with my parents at his nursing home. While I did not get to chat with the residents, I played the piano for them in their community room and saw their faces when I played imagining what they must have been thinking. Had I been older, I might have talked with them.

    Love,

    Aunt Mara

    ________________________________ Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2016 04:06:02 +0000 To: schwartzjoseph@hotmail.com

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