Our time is so very different from her time. Time to her moves slowly, deliberately and cruelly. She talks of her childhood a bit, of working in her father’s department store after the depression. “He had me count the cash drawer twice. He knew he could trust me” she said with a proud kind of grin upon her face. Rarely does she talk of him; her husband who died when he was only 40 something of a heart attack. But when she does she says “We were in love. I loved him. I went where he went. We were inseparable. We were one. I never knew a love like that. After he died I thought I would only last a week and now it has been 50 years. Don’t live to be 95”! She says gruffly. She wanted to go when he went. But here she remains. I asked her once “then why didn’t you start drinking or smoking? Your problem is that you are too healthy to die. You will probably live to be 100” I tease her. “Don’t you say such a thing!” She retorts quite maddened but the irking comment.
Time it is so different for her. She lives in a nursing home. “They are good to me” she says. “I go for walks with my friend, she is 96 you know.” She is very active but she gave up her car, her freedom years ago as her eyes began to fail. Then she had to give up her apartment, more independence gone. I try to take her to lunch once a week. She is very grateful “to get out” she always says. We chat about her great grandkids, about my writing, about the weather. I take her to eat and try to find a place by the water. The water takes her back to Michigan; camping with her husband and daughters, she loved the water. I drop her off. She hugs me, I am sure she does not get enough hugs; she says “thank you.” Then she pushes her walker towards the opening doors and slowly walks back into her life. Her life with a different type of time, no rushing, no family to tend to, no food to prepare (they do that for her), a totally foreign life to the one I live. I drive away because I can leave.
I say a little prayer for her and one for me that God will keep my husband with me through my golden years that my health will be good and my heart will be able to celebrate life and that my time will be different from her time.