There’s a time and place for Stephen King, no doubt… but in a world full of incessant darkness, this is not the time.Her world is already dark; she is blind. The nursing home does provide her with audiobooks, which she listens to regularly.
“What are you listening to?” I asked.
“Stephen King,” she replied.
After finding the activities director, and sitting down together, we selected some new alternative authors to add to her listening portfolio — she perked up when I mentioned Joyce Meyer, and when I told her about Jan Karon’s books, similar to the small town we grew up in. She said she would like that.
As I looked at her, I wondered what I could leave behind with her, after I left. Flowers would be useless as a reminder that I had been there, I couldn’t even send her a note really.
Instead, I told her that I was facing quite a bit of stress lately. “The way I am coping is to think about the unfailing smile that was always on our Uncle’s face.” She smiled as soon as I said his name… and she said, “he was a good man.”
Then, I asked her to tell me about her favorite memory about…. another relative, and then, another. You could see her mind working, trying to pull up files that had long been buried under newer, more painful memories, but still there in her mind. This was good work for her to do.
These are her memories… and no one can take them from her. But she needs to mine them, bring them back up to life where they can live. Let these become your affirmations… because they are just as real as anything sad you are creating in your mind.
Then, I told her, “whenever you go to sleep, I want you to think of someone, and then try as hard as you can to remember your favorite memory with them and keep working on that until you fall asleep.”
“OK, she said.
She enjoyed her visit with Rosie, couldn’t keep her hands off of her soft fur, and Rosie loved all the attention. The animated Disney movie, Cinderella was playing on the television, and I told her when they were at my favorite part — when the mice and birds start making Cinderella’s dress into a beautiful ball gown.
As I got up to leave, I kissed her forehead, and whispered, “what did I tell you to do?”
“Think of my favorite memory…”