‘Will you hold my hand?’

7:00 a.m.

Another day. Now what? I’m in my pajamas, but I can’t get up to change into normal clothes. I need help.

This is why I never liked sleeping in pajamas. It’s a waste of time. Or sleeping in a bed for that matter. I’m told before I lived here, at Brookhaven Retirement Community, I used to sleep in a chair in the living room for about 4 hours in my daytime clothes.

I never liked sleeping in pajamas.

7:34 a.m.

A pretty girl just walked into my room. Should I know her? She’s dressed like a nurse. Is she my nurse?

Either way, I am happy to see her. I need to use the bathroom but I can’t get there alone. Hopefully she can help me. She has nice teeth.

8:31 a.m.

Breakfast. Yuck.

Here I am at a table with three other women. I can’t hear them. Two of us smile at each other, one of the women is sleeping and the fourth can no longer speak.

Should I know them?

Everything they serve I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to be difficult, because I’m 91 and I’m old, but eggs and bacon? Yuck.

10:00 a.m.

Oh, a puzzle! How many pieces is this? 100? I’m not sure if I can do that many.

I have a vague memory of doing puzzles before I moved to Brookhaven. Marcia tells me I used to do thousands of puzzles and hang them all over the house. Puzzles with 5,000 pieces. When I ran out of room in the house, I started hanging them all over the garage.

I like to pass the time doing a puzzle because it occupies my mind, but now too many pieces overwhelm me.

11:32 a.m. 

Lunch. Yuck. Is that spinach? I really hate spinach. Who on earth would ever eat spinach?!

The pretty nurse is back and she’s here with my pills. Boy, she has nice teeth!

Mashed potatoes aren’t too bad. I’ll eat those, but not the rest. I don’t want to get big and fat.

12:40 p.m.

Oh, there’s a pumpkin on the table. October already? It must be Halloween.

I’m told I used to bake hundreds of chocolate chip cookies for all the kids trick-or-treating and wrap them up in plastic baggies. That seems like a lot of effort.

I really don’t remember doing that.

1:30 p.m.

HEY! A girl just walked in. I know her!

But how?

Not Marcia. Jessie or Kelly?

She says her name is Kelly and she’s here on a plane from California. I can’t believe it! I can’t imagine flying all that way in an airplane!

I wonder, does it cost a lot of money?

How old is she? I know she’s related to me. I want to hold her hand.

1:36 p.m.

Now two girls are standing here. They are related.  Jessie? Are they sisters?

Jessie asks if I remember Gus. Oh yes, Gus! The big dog! How could I forget him?

I wonder if Jessie and Kelly have boyfriends? Do they know how old I am?

Either way, I am so happy to see them. I love them. I love anyone who comes to see me and will take me outside, away from Brookhaven.

2:30 p.m.

I can’t stop clapping. Here we are at the park! I won’t be able to sleep tonight. Honest. I won’t be able to sleep from all this joy. At the park, with Jessie and Kelly, seeing the ducks and the pond.

Oh my, Jessie has such a nice car. I love going to the park and riding in Jessie’s car!

I won’t be able to sleep tonight. Honest. I don’t fib. Do they believe me?

3:06 p.m.

Here we go, back in the car.

I’m not so good at standing anymore. It takes a lot of effort, and I don’t have good balance. Getting out of my wheelchair and into the passenger seat is a slow process, but thank goodness for the help from Jessie.

I feel like crying — I’m so happy we are all together at the park!

3:15 p.m.

Back at Brookhaven in my room. What do I do now? Should I sit here? What should I do when they leave? Do I just sit here? I’m afraid.

I’m afraid I’m going to do something wrong. Won’t they just stay for a few more minutes. What am I supposed to do?

3:17 p.m.

I see a framed photo of people in my room. I feel like I should know them. I search my brain for the answer, some inkling of familiarity. They look like they are married.

Kelly says it’s my parents. I want to remember, and sometimes I do. But the memory comes and goes.

Today, it’s gone.

In the second photo, I see another couple. It looks like a wedding photo. Both the man and woman look familiar.

Wait, is that me?

3:41 p.m.

They’re leaving. Don’t leave. Please don’t leave me here.

I’m afraid. I don’t know what to do with myself. What if I do something wrong? Will they get mad at me? Will I know where to go?

4:00 p.m.

Dinner. Yuck. Back at the table with the other women. No one talks.

I haven’t done a thing all day, and I’m tired. How can I be tired though? All I do is just sit here.

4:47 p.m. 

I don’t want to get big and fat, but they just gave me a slice of apple pie with ice cream. It looks good, but my teeth aren’t so good.

Maybe if I have just a teeny, teeny bit.

6:30 p.m.

MARCIA! Oh I’m so happy to see her. I’m so happy to have my mom here! She is so nice to me and helps me with whatever I need.

She says she’s my daughter. Oh, that’s right.

I am so happy to see her, I could clap!

She asks how my time was with Kelly and Jessie. I’m drawing a blank. I haven’t done anything all day.

She says we went to the park, but I don’t remember.

7:43 p.m.

A nurse is here. I have an Ohio State pillow around my neck, and she says she likes Ohio State too.

The nurse says she heard I used to work for Ohio State and was a big fan of their football team. I don’t remember that.

She says it’s time for bed, but I’m not tired.

I just want someone to sit with me.

“Will you hold my hand?”

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