• Photobucket

  • Recent Posts

  • © Antique Mommy 2005-2013
  • All rights reserved.
  • Jane

    December 31, 2013

    When my mother-in-law dozed off, I shut the door to her room at the assisted living facility and looked for some place where I could sit unnoticed and NOT think.

    When you are visiting a place such as that, you can only really think one thought:  Life is a river flowing in one direction.  Eventually – and more quickly than the mind can conceive – the river empties out into the great delta of geriatric unpleasantness.

    Unless one capsizes mid-journey and is swallowed up by the river, the delta is our destiny.  The great contradiction of the delta is this:  No one wants to go there and at the same time no one wants to not make it there.  And so we spend most of our lives pretending we can outsmart the river.

    I found a little sitting nook in front of a window outside my mother-in-law’s room that overlooks a little courtyard and I pulled out my iPad hoping it would put me into an electronically induced coma of sorts or at least that it would serve as a Do Not Disturb sign and no one would stop to chat me up.

    Within minutes, I sensed her rolling up behind me, chopping her slipper-clad feet at the carpet to scoot herself forward.

    “Please oh please don’t stop,” I thought to myself, “Please just keep going.  Please don’t talk to me, please just let me be.”

    But she didn’t keep going.  She stopped. She rolled up beside me and didn’t say a word.  I looked up from my iPad and out the courtyard windows, and there she was, her reflection next to mine, both of us gazing beyond the window and down the river.

    Finally, because it was all that could be done, I turned to her and said hello.

    “What is that you got there?” she asked, pointing to my iPad.

    I told her what it was and that I was playing a game on it to pass the time while my mother-in-law napped.

    She said she always wanted to learn how to use a computer but never did.  And now it was too late.

    Then she told me her name was Jane.

    Jane had big round blue eyes and a mostly clear mind.  She had been a high school English teacher in the west Texas town of Odessa.  Jane was a little more tart than sweet and it didn’t take long to fall in love with her.  For the next hour, she recounted scenes from her life in Odessa all while folding and unfolding a piece of paper in her hands.

    When she ran out of stories or just grew tired of talking, we sat and stared at ourselves in the window.

    “Would you like for me to read you a poem?” she asked unexpectedly.

    “Yes, I would love that,” I said honestly.

    She sat up tall in her wheelchair and in her English Teacher’s voice, she read:

    Only Now -

    This is the best time

    The only now that

    we have time

    and soon, much too soon

    Now will become then and

    will start all over again

    Negotiating

    Pulsating

    Vibrating

    Celebrating

    Now!!

    When she finished, I asked her if she had written it.

    “Yes, I did,” she said, “In 1981.”  She handed me the paper.  I re-read the poem and noticed her pretty youthful handwriting.  I saw that she had written down the date and even the hour that she had written it – March 14, 1981, 2pm.  I wondered what she had been doing that day, what in her life had brought her those poetic thoughts and why she wrote them down.  On that particular day in 1981, I was barely 21, at the headwaters of the river.

    Jane1a

    Just then, AD and other family members found me and set up camp in what had been my private nook and began chatting and sharing news as though nothing special had just happened.

    When I turned my attention back to Jane, she had quietly slipped away and was scooting down the hall with her poem folded up in her hand.  I watched her scoot all the way down the hall and around the corner.

    And I wanted to go with her.

    Jane2

    12 Comments »

    1. Linda says:

      And somehow you will never forget those few moments God orchestrated between you and Jane.

      December 31st, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    2. Jan says:

      Wow. Just…wow. You and Jane both blow me away.

      December 31st, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    3. Sheila Thompson says:

      We should all watch for those “Jane’s” in our lives. They are out there if we just take time to listen! I loved this…touched my heart.

      May your mother-in-law be at peace.

      December 31st, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    4. amy branson says:

      People, especially old folks are like opening a book. Many stories to tell and when loved ones leave this earth it’s like a library is gone forever.

      Great story Tina!

      January 1st, 2014 at 8:52 am

    5. That Girl says:

      I work at a retirement community. We’re independent living – no medical care – so most of our residents are very active and healthy but still have lived more years than I. I love hearing their stories! One of our residents recently wore his high school letter sweater – state football champs! Sometimes, we think we’re the only people who have stories to tell. Thank you for listening to and loving Jane. Too many people discount lives like hers.

      January 1st, 2014 at 10:07 am

    6. Jenna says:

      This was a wonderful meditation to start my new year. Thank you, and may God bless you, Jane, and your mother-in-law.

      January 1st, 2014 at 10:34 am

    7. Gina says:

      What a touching story! Thank you for sharing it. I have found myself thinking I am “too busy” this first day of the year to visit my mom and mother-in-law, but I just may go visit them both now.

      Happy New Year. :)

      God bless you and your family.

      January 1st, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    8. Jake's a Girl says:

      I don’t know why I’m still amazed at God’s timing.

      We are where we are meant to be.

      All the Lord’s blessings to you and yours in this New Year.

      JaG

      January 1st, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    9. Shelly Wildman says:

      Hello, friend! Those seemingly small moments are so important, and I’m so glad you thought to write this one down. God’s “interruptions” are rarely just that, aren’t they?

      So happy to see you again! :)

      January 1st, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    10. Jim says:

      Jane was looking for an Angel to talk to,
      and she found one in “YOU”.

      “Happy New Year to y’all”

      January 1st, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    11. Cathie says:

      Every 5th Sunday, it is our family’s turn to take communion to a beautiful woman from our congregation who resides at the rest home. She is suffering from dementia, and I can scarcely take it. Following one particularly difficult Sunday, I was in tears as she told us that she and her sister and her dad were here at this hotel, traveling. She didn’t know what state they were currently in, but she knew that her sister (who had passed away some months back) and her dad (long gone) were in this hotel, close by. It just shook me up that she was so confused. And yet, every time we leave I feel blessed.
      So I especially appreciate that you didn’t want to be bothered. That’s a very real confession, and it makes the blessing of you meeting Jane that much sweeter. Like Jake’s A Girl said, God’s timing is amazing.

      January 2nd, 2014 at 8:04 am

    12. Roxanne says:

      What a blessing both you and Jane have been for me tonight. Thank you for sharing your time with her, friend.

      January 14th, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Leave a comment