Thursday, August 26, 2010

August is Sandcastle Month

That's what the bulletin board at my aunt's nursing home says. There's a lopsided construction paper cutout that looks like it's been faded by the sun--but the sun has no way to  make an appearance in the windowless room where the"old folks" eat their meals and visit with the people who come to see them. The other section of the bulletin board reports the day and the date as well as the season--"Summer!" and the weather--"Hot!" For some reason the section captioned, "The Next Holiday" is left blank. Maybe thinking ahead to the turn of the calendar page is too much when you're living in a place like this.
We took my mom to visit her twin Millie.  We sat on the patio with them while they smoked.  My mom stopped making the sounds that have recently become part of her repertoire.

"What's with the moaning?" I'd asked my brother the first night of my visit.
"It's not really moaning," he said. "It sounds to me like she's contemplating." I had to agree. Our mother is not moaning in pain. But if she's not actively engaged in a conversation when she sits sipping her coffee or her martini or just sits doing nothing, she vocalizes in a way that seems to be a non-verbal comment on something she's thinking about. Usually these "comments" don't sound all that positive.
My mother talks in her sleep, too.
"What do you dream about when you talk in your sleep?" I asked her the first day of our visit.
"I'm always talking to Millie," she said. "She's trying to help me. I'm in trouble, and she says, 'Hang on. Don't let go of the rope. Grab on to the branch. Don't jump.' "
I wonder if the waking "contemplations" are between her and Millie too. And that when they were together, that's why my mother could stop.

The weird thing was, as my aunt and my mother sat together on the patio, it was my aunt who began making the sounds.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

The art of understanding nonverbal communication -- my Sophie has many different variations of the "mmmm" sound. I think they're purposeful.