I passed around a gift box – the kind that a department store would give you for a blouse. It had tissue paper inside that lined the box. The nursing home residents were sitting in a circle. The box went from one set of hands to the next.
I asked: If someone could give you a gift, what would you like?
I would like my sight back.
Can it be this kind of gift? Not a real present in a box but so many of my friends have passed away. The gift that I would like is to have them not be gone. You have to adjust to so many changes when you get old. I have been here for eight years and I am still getting used to being here. There is no place like home. Even if you just had a little room of your own somewhere, that would still be your own home. But I don’t have any “people” anymore that are living and neither did my room-mate. We were like sisters. She passed away last Tuesday. We were both in wheelchairs and spent so much time together in this room and out in the hallway. Eight years is a long time to be so close to someone. I miss her so much. She was 92 or 93. I don’t know if I can even go to her service because I would have to find a ride. See her picture over there on that card on my nightstand. Doesn’t she look good?
I would want good health again.
I would like money to buy my wife some clothes. She is in another nursing home.
Then I asked, who would you buy a gift for?
My baby sister Virginia. (The lady was about 80.)
My great grand-children.
I would buy for my mother and daddy. They raised 9 of us and they didn’t have much left over for themselves. (She was 86-years-0ld so her parents had long sinced passed away.)
I would make my brother “right again.” He was in the United States Armed Services and when he came home he was never himself again. He had three daughters and he always thought of the children that he killed when he had to follow orders in the war. He knew what he signed up for when he joined the Army and he was proud to have served our country. World War II was the war that was supposed to end all wars but that never happened. And he was never himself after he came home in 1945. Truman said the war was over but it never really was in his mind.