“Excuse me, miss, where am I?”
Turning my hunched body slightly right, I barely managed to slide my walker into the door-jam of a room. I escaped another collision with that darn woman in a wheelchair. Where does she rush too? It’s the third time she’s passed me since I left that room. My ears burned from the droning of music I could not listen to for one more second. After all it’s not even in my language, but then, what language do I speak?
I’ve noticed that when I talk others look at me blankly and make attempts to placate me. They never give any answers. It’s as if they don’t understand.
My mind wanders. I stare blankly at the woman in scrubs before me. A half thought enters my mind…lips moving. I drop my head for a second. I have to think. I can’t look. My senses are firing signals at my brain faster than it can process a single message.
“Home?” I manage to repeat; the word sounding foreign in my ears. This can’t be home, can it? Where are my sisters, my mother, and father? Weren’t they just here planning a birthday dinner for my brother?
My hand rises automatically to my eye and I see, as if for the first time, my gnarled hands stained with age spots. Again my brain’s inbox is full and I cannot open the documents. Images flash before my eyes like scenes of a foreign film. I see a young woman twirling her skirts around the dance floor as she hangs on the arm of a handsome soldier. Quickly, that same girl, now an old woman gripping an American flag, is sitting before a grave. Who has died? Like a streak of light left behind a shooting star, shrieking children run wildly through a house. That young woman stands at the sink washing dinner dishes. The next images are too blurry…is that the young woman or the old lady? What happened to the soldier? Who are these people?
As if in a defensive response, my brain, like a computer, begins shutting down one window at a time. My mind swims and I can no longer stand. If I could speak, I may ask the nice woman in scrubs for help, but that window slams shut.
Slowly lifting my eyelids, I blink the fog from my mind. White walls glare from every side. I’m in bed…someone’s bed. It’s not my own. Grabbing the rainbow colored comforter, I pull myself forward, craning my neck in order to look out the door.
It’s that woman in the wheelchair again. At least I’m out of range of her wheels this time.
Try as I may, I cannot remember climbing into bed…it must be morning. With a small groan I slide one leg off the edge of the bed and then the other. Whose walker is that leaning against the night stand? Ignoring the walker I grab the edge of the night stand and lift myself to upright. An alarm suddenly sounds and I shuffle around frantically, my mind swirling, but no thoughts taking root.
“Mrs. Spear, you’re awake. You feelin’ better now after a nap?” The woman in scrubs kindly asks.
Since I like her big, toothy smile, I grab her hand. “Where am I?”
The toothy smile gets wider.
“Why, Mrs. Spear, that’s the 10th time today you’ve asked me that. You’re home – right where you’ve been all day.”
My eyes drink in the white walls and my glance catches the walker as it rests on the rainbow bedspread.
I don’t realize the word has escaped my lips in a hushed whisper. The word, almost ominous, hangs in the air like the last strains of music fading into the night.
No, surely this can’t be home. My mind grasps at an image just out of reach and I realize I’ve never before seen this woman with the big, toothy smile.
In dedication to my grandma who went home Sunday night to be with her Lord and her husband. She spent the last several years lost in the world of Alzheimers.
I love you Grandma.
When I think of the word ‘forgetful’, I cannot help but think of my grandma. And frankly, I don’t want to forget. This post has been edited to join Mylestones Flashback Friday. Go visit for more great stories!