Angie Makes Another One

Angie and Vern were a colorful couple in their nineties who I first got to know at the weekly dinner at Hawthorne.  I admired Vern and Angie. They were very active and I’d most often see them returning from their daily outing: lunch and shopping. That’s how I became accustomed to that friendly greeting.

“Well, we made another one,” Vern would say in a jovial, sing-song fashion as they ambled down the hallway holding plastic bags of groceries and restaurant left-overs. And then we’d laugh about the grim alternatives. Hardly a day would pass that we didn’t exchange this affable refrain.

But as time passed, attendance at the weekly dinner declined until the building administration canceled it. Our hallway encounters dwindled even more when I heard Vern had a car accident and gave up driving. Finally, Vern was hospitalized and died.

Angie grieved mightily and her own health declined.  It was sad to watch this vibrant woman fade. I lost track of Angie until one day I saw her at the mailboxes. She smiled and asked how I was. I wasn’t sure I should say it. What if this brings up sad memories or makes her feel bad. But I took the chance.

“Well, we made another one,“  I said in my best Vern-like style.  Angie’s silence was only for a few seconds. Then for a short moment I saw that old Angie spark as she repeated the refrain with a laugh and shake of the head.  Most things change but some things never do.

Then I heard Angie had fallen and had to go to rehab. I was sure I’d never see her again. But I was wrong. Such a surprise to see her at the in-house beauty salon where she still gets her hair done each week.  She’s dressed up as though her next stop is lunch or the theater. When Angie celebrated her ninety-ninth birthday, Hawthorne had a party and provided a cake ordered from Simma’s.

I still run into Angie near the mailboxes or when she shops in the in-house grocery store. Always smiling as she navigates her walker down the hallway.  And though she often doesn’t remember my name, now she’s the one who always greets me with Vern’s old salutation: “Well, we made another one. “

 

 

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Betty

Sid’s wife, Betty, died today.
Betty, the superlative caregiver
of Sid who has Parkinson’s.

Over the years,
Betty seen guiding Sid through the hall in his walker.
Then Betty pushing Sid in his wheelchair.

Then Betty walking alone.
Sid was now bedridden, she explained.
And family so helpful.

Betty always smiling,
always saying hello,
always including your name in her greeting.

Stopping for a short chat about the weather.
Introducing Sid’s twenty-four-hour caregiver,
saying what a good job is being done.

Sid’s world turned upside down.
A reminder.
All we have is today.

 

 

 

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