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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Meeting another special friend in the nursing home

I had left mum's room, and left mum behind so that she would have to keep up with me in the hallway, and had gone into the dining room to find her a table to sit at for lunch when I noticed something odd. Mum was coming into the TV room. Sitting in front of the TV in a special chair for disabled residents - those who do not have the ability to get around on their own - was a man, and he was clapping. He stopped clapping with his hands and started beckoning. To my surprise, mum changed direction and steered her walker over to his large, grey chair.

When she arrived beside the man's chair, mum came even closer to him still and placed her hand on his headrest, above his head, then leaned on her arm until it was taking most of her weight, and bent down and kissed the man on the top of his head. As I watched, she straightened up and stood there as the man spoke with her.

I stayed standing in the dining room as all these things were taking place ten metres away from me in the TV room. I could hear nothing of what transpired between the two of them. So I turned and walked up toward the front desk but there was no apparent solution there. I turned back and walked down into the TV room and stood next to mum.

The man looked at me with his clear, gimlet eyes for a fairly long length of time, and I looked at him. Then he moved his mouth and said, "So you're the son?" "Yes," I said. I smiled at him and nodded. Mum was still standing in front of me between the two of us. The man kept staring at me and I kept smiling. "I've heard a lot about you," he said finally. "I see," I said in reply and turned to mum. "I'll get you a table in the dining room," I said to her.

As we walked away from the man in his reclining chair I nodded at him and smiled briefly. Mum and I made our way to the tables in the dining room and I found her a chair opposite a woman she knows. "Do you want to sit with F?" I asked her. "That's nice," mum said to me. "Nice," said the woman, who I have called F.

The thing is that kissing a man on the head might not mean the same thing to mum as it does to me. She said to me again today, as she has so many times, "You did well to find this place. I am comfortable here." But expressing affection for other people is natural for mum, who has this fey side to her personality which emerges at unexpected moments, as when she'll suddenly kiss a man on the head for no apparent reason. I cannot work out how to raise the subject of this man with her, now, but I might come up with something next time I go up to the nursing home. Stranger things have happened than this, of course.

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