Archive for May 21st, 2010|Daily archive page

Elvis was in the building

I’ve delayed writing this entry for a week. I was sad last Friday after visiting Mom, even though much of the visit was fun. It was Elvis day at the Alz center, the finale to Nursing Home Week festivities. I had seen Elvis at the Christmas party and I enjoyed him, so I went back to see him again. Plus, it was time for a visit with Mom, too.

I found her and Mr. R in the program area, on their usual couch. Mom put her arms up for a hug and I greeted Mr. R with a wave. I sat in the chair next to Mom’s side of the couch. Elvis was already singing, so I listened for a little bit and watched the crowd dancing around him. Mom and Mr. R occasionally kept a beat with the songs, but they seemed content to sit there and not join the audience that had made a circle around the central performance area.

My view of Mom, with Mr. R getting his cuddles in.

Some little kids were visiting, dancing around, and Mom seemed to enjoy seeing them. Occasionally, I would get up and walk over to the outskirts of the circle to get a closer look at Elvis. Mom and Mr. R didn’t budge. When I was with them in their corner of the room, this was my view of the festivities.

Mom and Mr. R did not seem interested in getting a closer look at Elvis. Almost everyone else formed a circle for his performance, and some got up to dance.

So I just sat there, and Mom would turn toward me from time to time and look at me. “You’re the most beautiful person in the world,” she said once. I did like that. But I found myself not really thinking much of this visit. I suppose I could have tried to convince Mom and Mr. R to move closer, but I thought, why bother? They were obviously happy where they were. Mom showed just a hint of a struggle with her divided attention. I think she tried not to ignore me, but it was hard to really try to chat or anything because the music was loud. Eventually, an activities staff member came over and took Mom’s hands and said, “Come on, Bonnie. Come dance with me.” And she looked at me and waved her head in the direction of the dance floor, motioning for me to follow. She said to me, “You must just…” but didn’t finish. Yes, I just…don’t know what I should do. She got us into the circle near Elvis and put our hands together, and Mom and I started to dance. We held hands and waved them around together, and swayed to the music. I led for awhile and gave her a twirl. I switched sides and we danced some more. For about 1 1/2 songs, we danced together, and laughed. Mom admired my necklace. I told her how often I’ve been told how much she likes to dance. “Really?” she said. After the end of the second dance, I asked her if she was ready to sit down, and she was.

Elvis put on a nice show. It cheered me up.

She went back to the couch and leaned over Mr. R and gave him several smooches before sitting next to him. I took this as my cue to leave. I kissed her goodbye and walked out as Elvis was wrapping up. I waved and mouthed the words “thank you” to the activities staff member on my way out. In the car, I got the weeps. Just briefly. I felt stupid. I claim that Mom’s happiness is my top priority. Now that she has found it with Mr. R, apparently I feel left out. I was embarrassed that the staff member felt sorry for me. But I was also very touched by her gesture. Mostly, I just felt like all this time that Mom spends with Mr. R is a missed opportunity for me. At one time, I would have been glad to have her so completely distracted. But those were times when she was distressed. Now that she’s so happy, she is much more fun to be around. And I can only observe that happiness from a certain distance. It’s good for her. Very good. And for me. I don’t want a change to this situation – the companionship they offer each other is such a gift. I am still adjusting, I guess.

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