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A Bald Eagle or a Black Swan?

I never thought about living in a nursing home until a social worker declared that Mother needed the care given in such a place. The words whirled, swooped and kicked in the door of her house. No compromises. Her mind fought against leaving irises, gardenias, hydrangeas. No desire to live where wheelchairs grew beside narrow beds.

Five years later, I can look back and see the truth: those who bloom in nursing homes are strange flowers indeed. Strange, as in exotic—some throw jokes, others wiggle-giggle, glow, or turn the color of shooting stars. Endangered species. Especially the few who come in smiling about making this decision for themselves.

Everyone brings knickknacks when they come— right away things go into drawers and closets. Only a few bring a bucket of cheer. Most are in shock and must grieve for long, slow months before deciding whether to live here as a bald eagle or as a black swan.

How we took notice when Mother’s head finally lifted, when the light trickled down her forehead, when her back straightened, when she asked if Bingo might be happening in the dining room.

by Pat Durmon

Lights and Shadows in a Nursing Home (2013)

P. S.

Dear readers,

Many of you may know that through October of this year, I'm putting poetry rather than prose on my weekly blog. Each selected poem has been published in one of my four poetry books. The books are listed below. Clicking on a book will take you to its amazon.com page. Any purchases and reviews are greatly appreciated!

Thank you and Blessings,

Pat Durmon

(patdurmon.com)

Bald eagle on the North Fork River, Norfork, Arkansas. Photographed by Christin Scallion, October 2019.

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