9-08-11 Prompt: "Time passes," she said. “You’ll see.”
She held my hand with her hands. Her frail and boney hands, with blood vessels enlarged in streets of their own. I wondered about her circulation. Really, I did. How did her vessels make it to 108 years?
She looked at me, a fawn self to her old dearness. I twitched in my chair. Luckily my short blue jean cutoffs had frayed and I could play with white cotton strands. Normally I liked the residents at the nursing home, however, this visit was out of scope. … out of school and it made me nervous... She somehow saw into me.
Coming every Tuesday and Thursday to practice observation to finish my occupational therapist degree is what drew me here. But now, this very day, with Sadie Marie, I am a companion, not an intern, and she is 86 years my senior.
Why I wore my cut offs and not a dress, I wondered.
“You’re still fresh, child, like a strawberry with green near its top. I’m the old oak. Think about it. I came from an acorn 108 years ago.”
I laughed. “Oh Sadie, you were not an acorn.”
“You know what I mean. Don’t try to fool me, Sara. I see you. I watch you. You come in here with the others, young and with sparks. But I see you. You’re not one of them. They are all academic. This is fine. It’s good in fact. Your whole group will be fine OTs. But you, child, study us. You find us intriguing. You linger, helping the most critical, watching their breaths when they talk. You notice what brings them peace or agitation. You look into their eyes and get what they need before they ask. But still,” she hesitated, while I thought this was normal for all of us, and to a point, it is. Sadie continued, “You look beyond that. You watch us as if you are watching for answers, answers to questions only you ask in your head.”
I waited for her to talk more.
“Why you hide behind your youth and exhibit a paleness, I don’t know.”
“What?” I asked.
“You hide, Sara. You observe and hide yourself. I’m telling you today, you can’t do that your whole life. You have too many questions, you have too much life in you. Time passes. You don’t have forever,” she said, “You’ll see.”
“I do see that.”
“Yes and no. One day you’ll understand deeper there is an end. All seconds are important and how you spend your time and with whom is important.”
“I see that, Sadie.”
“Well, I’m telling you, you need to see it more.” She reached over, twisted her back and reached far for her water.
“Let me get that for you,” I said,.
“It’s your day off, honey, just relax and visit with me. And tell me, Sara,” she said, “--why’d you wear those shorts in here? They’re too short.”
Frankly, I thought that was none of her business. In fact, my life was none of her business and why she thought she had the right to tell me what to do, I don’t know. “Sadie—I’m playing tag football after I leave.”
“Football?! My words. You’re an angel, a delicate creature, why are you playing football?”
“Because I like it.”
“Well every bump and bruise you get now, you’ll feel it later. I’m here to tell you.”
Sadie was telling me more and more. “I know, I know. There is an end and how I get there is important.”
“Your darn tootin” Sadie said. She aimed to set her water back and I took it before she twisted too far.
“Can I get you anything, Sadie?”
“You can get through your life intact, in peace, and happy. Do you know what makes you happy, child?”
“Sometimes. Sadie, who’s the therapist here?” Although we both knew OTs are mainly for the physical, we went beyond it into thoughts and being.
“Life’s more than what is seen. That’s all I’m saying. What makes you happy, or what draws your attention is good for your heart. Or more.”
“Yeah, it’s the or more I wonder about.”
“I know dear.” She looked at me and smiled.. “So why football?
“Because it’s fun and I need fun. Otherwise I’d only be thinking.”
“I know honey, I know.”
Then I realized, I liked being here, with Sadie Marie,… she felt familiar to me.