I open my eyes from a long sleep. I hear voices, but cannot place where they are coming from. Do I dare close my eyes again? No, they will remain open. I need to know what’s happening. Think, think, I tell myself.
‘Good morning Edna, time to get ready for the day’, a voice tells me.
‘It’s a beautiful day! Hey, Sandy, you think you can help me with this? We need 2 people for the transfer.’
Who are these people? Why are they looking at me? No, don’t touch me; I try to scream! I open my mouth, but only a ‘waahhh’ sound escapes.
‘So how was your weekend?’ One person says to the other.
‘It was okay, I was called in for work on Sunday, but I need the hours, my kid wants to play soccer this year.’
‘Wow, yeah, kids are expensive, try having 5!’
Wait a minute! I’m here! Talk to me! Ouch! You are hurting me. I try to move my arm, but something holds me down.
‘Edna, be good. You have to help us, don’t fight us’, a voice sternly says.
‘Oh, Sandy, did you read her file this morning? She hit Roma yesterday. She’s being very aggressive lately. If she is uncooperative, I will have no choice but to document.’
Who the hell are you talking about? Roma, who is Roma? What file? Stop please! What are you doing to me?
‘Sandy, can you operate the lift while I get her clothes ready?’
‘Yeah, no problem.’
Oh my god, I am being raised up! I’m going to fall. Stop, stop, please stop, I beg you! I can’t move! I’m going to try to get down myself. I struggle to swing my arm out when I feel a weight pressing on it.
‘Edna, stop it! You are going to get hurt. Now calm down!’ one of the voices says emphatically.
‘Mel, I think you better document today that she is still exhibiting behavior’s towards us. She will not listen.’
Listen? No! YOU listen to ME! I am not a child! I am an adult…I’ve had children, yes, that’s right, I remember now; I’m a mother.
‘Yeah I will. They may have to change her meds again.’
Meds? What are you talking about?
‘Okay Edna, we are going to put you in your chair and change your clothes’.
Oh thank you, thank you! My eyes begin to focus, but wait a minute; those are not my clothes. I don’t know whose clothes those are, but they aren’t mine! I don’t want to wear someone else’s clothes, please listen to me!
‘Edna, stop it! We are just trying to help. You need to get dressed, you can’t stay in your nightgown all day’, one of the voices says irritated.
‘Hey, when’s your break?’
‘I have one in 20 minutes, but the rate we are going with her, it may be later.’
Her? My name is Edna, Edna…Ramsey, yes that’s it, Edna Ramsey!
‘I have to do Margaret next, but she’s easy’, the voice says.
‘Oh I love Margaret; she is so sweet. She’s never a problem’, the other voice replies sentimentally.
Who is Margaret? I’m sweet and caring, I think.
All of a sudden I’m dressed and in a chair, how did I get here? I’m being pushed, where are you taking me? I scream again; the ‘waahhh’ sound.
‘Edna, I’m taking you to the dining room. It’s time for breakfast’, one voice says loudly.
I sit at a table with others. Why am I here? These people are old. They drool and make no sense. I don’t know anyone. Someone has made a mistake. I’m, I’m, I don’t know who I am, but I know I don’t belong here. I think I’ve lost my way.
How long have I been sitting here? I think I feel … Where am I? I realize I am crying!
A young girl kneels down beside me and gently touches my arm. Oh, how good that feels.
‘Hi Edna, you want to come with me? We are going to a small concert downstairs’, the girl says sweetly.
I nod my head, yes, yes, you understand! I have to get home. I have to be home for my daughter when she gets home from school!
‘Okay Edna, I’ll take you’ the sweet girl with the most beautiful smile says.
A voice begins to speak with my sweet girl:
‘Shelley, be careful with her, she has been aggressive over the last few days. I’m not sure you should take her down to the concert. She could be a disruption to the other residents.’
I feel my sweet girl’s hand on my shoulder as she says,
‘It’s okay, I’ll sit next to her, and if she becomes agitated, I will bring her back up.’
The growling voice says, ‘okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!’
Warn her? Warn her about what? She is taking me home. You leave my girl alone!
Then the sweet girl bends down and says to me, ‘you still want to go, Edna?’
I nod, and I think I smile, although I can’t be sure.
‘She’ll be fine’, my sweet girl says to the growler.
We have entered a large room with many people. I am not sure I want to be here. I begin to wave my arm. I don’t know where I am and I don’t recognize these people. I begin to shake. I want to go home, please, you promised to take me home!
My sweet girl bends down and gingerly caresses my hand and says ‘It’s okay Edna, I’m here. We are going to have fun’.
Please don’t let go of me. I’m scared; I want to scream!
A voice next to my girl says, ‘Hi Shelley, how is she today?’
I wonder about whom this woman is speaking. She seems to be very nice and somewhat familiar. Do I know her? Maybe she’s one of my daughter’s friends, yes, that’s it, that’s where I have seen her, I think.
I see my beautiful girl say to the woman, ‘Edna is a little upset today, but she’ll be happy to see you. Look she’s smiling! Why don’t you sit next to her, that way I can bring a few more residents down.’
The lady smiles at me and says words that I cannot understand. She seems nice as she bends down to give me a kiss on the cheek. Her warm hand holds mine, as she begins to talk non-stop. I can’t follow everything she says, but I’m not fearful anymore. Somehow I feel calm and comfortable.
I hear music playing and I close my eyes… and there’s my Bert…I feel like a teenager. No wait! I am a teenager! I have butterflies in my stomach and I’m in love. I’m on my feet swaying back and forth enveloped in Bert’s arms. Our song has been requested, ‘You send me’ by Sam Cooke! Bert casts me that crooked smile, takes my hand, holds me closer, and sings along in his delightful deep voice,
‘At first I thought it was infatuation,
But, ooh, it’s lasted so long, now I find myself wanting, to marry you and take you home,
Whoa…you, you, you, you send me…’
I sense a warm touch on my arm, I open my eyes, and I see my daughter. She is smiling at me. Oh how I love her. I know she loves me too. But, wait, she has tears in her eyes, why is she crying? I reach out to touch her and hear, ‘I love you’ breathlessly escape from my lips. She smiles, looks away and says quietly, ‘I love you too, Mom’.
I am fine dear, I try to say, but it doesn’t come out that way. She then looks at me with her big brown eyes, flashes her crooked smile, and strokes my hand.
I am here. I live, I feel, I have loved, been loved, and still love. Please SEE ME, but more importantly, love me and never forget me.
I have a lovely woman sitting beside me, she seems familiar, but I can’t seem to place her, and I think I hear music…