What sprouts up when you bring flowers into a nursing home?

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Happiness in a vase? That is what sprouts up when you bring a few dozen re-purposed flowers into a nursing home. And nice conversations always occur too. Stories of when life changed dramatically, the day that fortune smiled down on their family or a time of exhilaration.  Just little bits and pieces of memories of years gone by.

How much are these flowers going to cost me?

I had such wonderful gardens in Brooklyn. I miss the intimacy of my old neighborhood. I would never tell my daughter that but I am telling you in secret. I lived there for 62 years. I knew everybody and everybody knew me. But she worried about me living alone so she moved me here. I was not happy about it. Then, Sister Theresa sat down with me and said that God doesn’t make mistakes – that I am meant to be here for some reason.

I don’t have any family. My husband was an only child and so was I. We didn’t have any children. I was in the grocery store on Christmas Eve and I saw a lady from my church and she asked me how I was celebrating Christmas Eve. She was buying 16 pieces of fish for her guests. I was buying one for myself. I told her that it was just me. “My husband will come over to pick you up at 6 pm. You are not going to eat alone. You are my guest.”

 

You asked if I think the veterans at the VA Medical

Center would like them. I will tell you what they would like. Go down to the place in Philadelphia. They would like conversation.

 

My mother left me at the hospital to be adopted. She did not want me. My father told his parents and they adopted me.

 

Did you ever have pumpkin ice cream? I just heard about it and would love to have some but they say I have to lose weight. They keep track of that here. I wish I could have a little bowl of it.

 

It’s Beth’s birthday today. Wow, she got flowers! And from a stranger!

 

I never met my mother. She died when I was 2 years old. What I mean is that I have no memory of my mother and that has hurt me all of my life.

 

 

Do you have children, Patricia? Are you a widow? Have your children ever come with you when you do this? I think they should. I never had children and sometimes that makes me feel depressed.

Just another little tidbit about my visit.

The resident had missing teeth, sitting in a wheelchair, was from the south originally and shared his memory of autumn in Georgia with the group seated around him.

“We raked the leaves into big piles, started a bonfire and cooked hot dogs. Excuse me for a few minutes. I wear a bag to go to the bathroom and I have to leave to get it taken care of.”

“Where is your wife? I haven’t seen her visiting with you when I come in.”

“She doesn’t come to visit me anymore.”

I had a lot of Halloween and autumn props with me to do a Reminiscence Program. Lots of Halloween costumes, party supplies, black and orange garland. All of the props were placed on the residents’ laps and we just held something up and shared a memory about it. I had 8 paper plates from the Dollar Store. Just your basic eight for a dollar. I asked what each person liked about the plate.

“I like the colors.”

“I like the sweet potato pie picture.”

“I like the orange pumpkins.”

I collected all of the props including the simple paper plates.

As I was leaving the resident whose wife no longer comes whispered to me, “Can I have that one?”

“What one?”

“I would like to have that paper plate, please. I would love to have something pretty like that in my room.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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