Nursing home

Jane Tinsley Swope

May 18, 1993|By Jane Tinsley Swope

The bed is empty, Stripped to the plastic mattress. On it, a trash bag filled to the brim with personal effects: A dressing gown, a comb and brush with gray hair still in them, A jar, a picture. But she is gone.

Yesterday, as she sat in her wheelchair, we chatted Of this and that, admired each other's clothes, Talked about shopping. She said she'd really like to be at home, but daughter worked. She didn't want to be a burden.

How much luckier she was than the ones who lost their minds, Babbled nonsense, didn't tidy up, Spilled ice cream on their fronts Or lay incontinent for weeks, Shadows of their former selves Turned side to side by indifferent aides,

Now she is gone, And there's an empty place in my heart, too.

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