With lips pursed, Nora grieved, “I don’t want to leave.”
“Come on, Mother, it’s time to go.”
Her eyes full of sadness, Nora picked up her purse and sweater, along with her cane,
and shuffled in a halting manner. One step forward, rebalance, another step forward.
At the door she stopped, turned around and looked at her home for the last time.
Nora remembered when she’d first came to this house. She and Frank, along with little
Tommy, had moved here more than sixty years ago. Three more babies came during
the years. David, Clarisse, and Mary Ann. The house had been filled with noise and
activities. “Where had all the time gone?” Yes, they had made it a real home, and now
she was leaving. Sorrowful beyond words, Nora released her reverie and turned to the
opened door to begin a new season of life.
Mary Ann picked up her mother’s suitcases, and they went out the door, locking it
behind them. Arrangements had been completed for Nora to live at Tender-Heart
Assisted Living home. She knew it was the right thing to do, yet it was painful to give up
her own home where she had dwelt all those happy years.
After Nora got settled in her tiny, furnished apartment, Mary Ann started to go home to
her family. “Now Mother, you call anytime you want. If you need me day or night, you
“Yes, dear, I will.”
Feeling alone and in strange surroundings, Nora allowed herself a good cry.
Afterwards she told herself, “Now, that’s enough of feeling sorry for myself. Time to get
on with living.”
Nora put out her kitchen towels, potholders and such. She certainly didn’t forget her
apple shaped timer for the stove. That was important! She put her own pictures on the
walls and set the grandchildren’s photos around. In front of the television she put the
colorful heart shaped rug that she had made herself. And her doilies. On the little
dinette table, the back of the couch and chair. With her old fan quilt on the bed, the
place began to feel like ‘hers.’
Little by little Nora joined various tenants in cards and other games. Thursdays the van
took them shopping and out to lunch. Crafts and Bible studies kept her busy too.
Meals were either in the large lunchroom for all that signed up for community fare or a
simple one made on her own apartment’s tiny stove. Real friendships grew and Nora
began to cherish them. Each person was always there for another when needed.
After a few weeks, Mary Ann called. “Mother, would you like to come spend the
weekend with us?”
“Why, yes, Honey, I would love that!”
So Mary Ann and her husband, Jason, picked her mother up on Friday afternoon. Nora
loved seeing Mary Ann’s family and enjoyed dinner with everyone. They laughed, told
jokes, and stories. Ten year old twins, Jase and Ross kept things lively. And thirteen
year old Amber was excited about going to high school next year.
When it came time for bed, Nora had a subtle uneasiness but couldn’t quite discern its
root. The bed was quite comfortable and so was the room’s temperature, the blankets.
But sleep would not come and she was left lying there wondering why. She was
Listening to the silence, it dawned on her. The house was too quiet. There was no
staff checking on tenants to make sure all was well. There was no loud snoring from
the next apartment, or loud television from the other side. There were no hall lights on,
no feet shuffling down the corridor. As comfortable as everything was, it was not home!
At breakfast next morning, Nora announced, “Mary Ann, I need to go home.”
“But, Mother, don’t you want to get out of there for a while, away from everything and
stay here another night?”
“Nope!” proclaimed Nora. “I want to go home. Home to my bed, my things, my friends
and companions. I’ll always come and visit you, Sweetie. I love you and the family, but
I want to stay in my own home. I’ve found contentment there. When I had to let go of
my house I thought I could never be happy again. But I’ve discovered joy in that little
apartment. You know that old cliché, ‘There’s no place like home.’ Well, my suite is
sweet, and it’s mine!
“Now,” she beamed, “take me home!”
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