This morning  proved eventful in my south-facing half of a double room. When I arrived, I was warned about the oppositional nature of my roommate’s family. I initially thought the caregiver was inappropriate for spreading this sort of prejudice until I experienced the family in rare form today. Actually it’s probably not all that rare and the caregiver was probably ventilating stored up frustration. The family members I had experienced before today were sisters who had come separately and didn’t interact with me at all–something I’m used to in these facilities. There is a feeling of invisibility that gets propagated in places like this. I feel certain that this accounts for the sense of vacancy I see in the other residents.

The sisters referred to my roommate as “grandma,” so the relationship was obvious. But today a larger presence arrived on wheels–apparently Anna’s daughter and the mother of the two granddaughters. She a rageful woman, completely convinced of own, inner perspective. She combed the room, the bed, the drawers, for evidence of negligence, and of course when we have a concentrated intention, the universe will comply. After she blasted a few caregivers, the manager arrived and, motioning to me, asked her if they could step into another room. The woman asked me directly if I was okay with having them stay in the room. I affirmed it was okay and snickered to myself when she said, “we are just going to have a little conversation here.” This was a woman clearly used to getting her own way, and the conversation became loud and escalated.  After ten minutes, I made the sign of TIME OUT and told them that I was “maxed out.” My insides were beginning to quake.

This shifted the energy. Before this, Anna, my 93-year-old roommate, had never made eye contact with me, and I could see that she had dementia. I was told that she had hearing loss, so I felt free use my dictation software. For two days, Anna never acknowledged my existence, but today, all of a sudden her face became animated and totally alive as she spoke to me and said, “happy Easter neighbor!”

I’m guessing this was something she wanted to say to her daughter for a long time.

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