One View

I will not miss. For most of the past 13 years I’ve been blessed with constant views of parks, wildlife, mountains, skyscrapers or ever-changing lakes.

There is a rehabilitation facility up the street that I can see from our windows. People there say they occasionally admit a young person who has been in a catastrophic automobile accident, but mainly it is an “old folks home.”

I’m known to get up in the middle of the night and read the news or write. Tonight is different. Not only is my husband two thousand miles away, I’ve moved my office to another room, one that I’ve rarely spent more than a few moments in to dust or vacuum or make up the futon for guests.

A short while ago lights awakened me in our bedroom. Three ambulances with flashing lights were just up the street. Then there was one. No flashing lights. Right by the ambulance bay. All is quiet, then they roll out the body and the last ambulance leaves. It is sad to think that someone with little or no family remaining has passed.

Sad, as well, to walk by en route to the grocery store and see a bevy of nurses outside, smoking. Yes, nurses, smoking and chatting. And the residents have a “tent” out in the parking lot, each with their respective chair they brought from whatever home they may have had, for smoking.

My elders used to discourage my great aunt from smoking. She refused until she was nearly 100 years old to go to a nursing home. When they realized how much of her pension was going to cigarettes, as soon as we turned 18 when we crossed the border to Canada to visit we were urged to use our adult status to get her cigarettes for 1/4 the price, as well as alcohol for the family reunion at a similar discount.  Way back then the US dollar was much stronger than Canada’s.

Mom was Canadian but finally got a Green Card. She kept citizenship there probably to make sure my brother never had to be conscripted for war duty. No, she never smoked. But I sat in her room and watched her for an entire week at hospice. She died over six years ago. I spent time with her alive, barely, there was no funeral, and my gift at her death was to assure that before cremation, her corneas were donated at her behest.

When I see these ambulances I think of people, not parts. I hope they have family and friends who care and will remember them and their stories. My father went in this week to have two cancerous tumors removed. It reminds me to go see him as soon as possible (he wouldn’t let me come and cook right away) and hear and write down as many stories as I can.

He is a human being, not a set of parts. I will not miss the ambulances. I will miss the view, of an ever-changing lake and feeding one set of ice fishers each year who let me get the closest I ever will to walking on water. Cheers from my temporary new space! We’ll set up the new printer today and I’ll be on the move. Dee

 

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