Myrtle’s memory

SeasonsMyrtle’s eyes lit up when she saw me standing outside the door to her room at the nursing home.

“Are you here to visit me?” she asked, a smile sloped across her face.

I really wasn’t but the door to my mother’s room was closed and I was waiting. So why not?

“I can visit with you,” I said and stepped into her room. “I’m waiting for my mother.”

“Who is your mother?”

I pointed to the wall and told her my mother’s name. “She’s your neighbor.”

“Oh.” Myrtle drew out the word as she considered my information. “That’s nice.”

Her eyes told a different story: she didn’t remember my mother.

No big deal. I asked Myrtle about her hometown. About her family.

Her face lit up. She had three sons living about a half hour away. “They are so busy,” she said. “They come to see me on Saturdays. And I get to see my—“ She stopped, considering information. “I can’t remember if she’s my granddaughter or what.”

I thought I could help. “How old is she?”

“Eighteen months.”

“Probably your great-granddaughter then.”

Myrtle nodded. “She visits me sometimes. I love to see her.” She shifted her weight in her wheelchair. “My husband was here when he had Alzheimer’s. I took care of him as long as I could.”

“You are very loving,” I told her. “I see you smiling at everyone here. I see you talking to people at the table at mealtime. You are very kind. You still have purpose, you know. To love people.”

Her eyes teared up. “Oh,” she said, putting her hand to her mouth. “Oh. Thank you. I needed to hear that.”

“I’m glad to say it.”

Then she lifted her head. “Are you here to visit me?”

“I’m here to visit my mother.”

“Who is your mother?”

And we settled in for round two.

But I believe that Myrtle, who is very loving and smiles at anyone who crosses her path, stored those words somewhere inside. She may not remember but I think somehow she knows.


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