Wednesday, March 25, 2020
A normal day... according to the residents
As the bread toasts and the kettle boils, the house wakes from its sleep. The curtains are pulled open and the sun pours into the bedrooms and sitting rooms. Another day at LTC begins.
After washing and dressing, we make our way to the sitting room and have our fill of coffee and toast. The TV is switched on and we watch the morning news whilst filling in the paper crossword.
Homer and Bart wake too and they stretch their legs above their heads to release the sleep from their bodies. Homer wanders down to the sitting room in search of a lap. After finding a knee and settling into comfort, he curls up and falls into a second slumber.
As the day carers arrive for a day’s work, they say “Good morning!” with smiles and enthusiasm. Soon they are running around, busy, but never too busy to offer a hand or to relieve our worries.
As more people awake and make their way into the sitting room, the space begins to fill with a quiet buzz of conversation. The news reader talks of serious goings on in the world, but here, in our safe bubble, we feel protected and loved.
“Six down, the clue is: relaxation, solace.” Comes a voice from across the room, she has the newspaper on her lap and chews the end of a pen deep in thought. After a lot of thought, we decide that the answer doesn’t exist and that it’s the newspaper that’s wrong, not us.
The activities lady arrives and pampers us with hand massages and paints our nails. Then, we all sit and try to piece together a jigsaw, the skyline of London gradually becoming more and more complete. It may only be 100 pieces, but we all cheer with pride as the last piece fits perfectly into place.
Outside, the fresh country air calls, so we wrap up in our winter finest and take a stroll to the church. The birds sing as we reminisce about the old days and we laugh as we remember amusing stories of our childhoods.
We find the church peaceful. Apart from our voices echoing in the old building, it is quiet and comforting.
The bells chime, filling the room with a melodic reminder that lunch will soon be on the table, so we make our way home.
We wait patiently in the dining room for our lunch, the aroma reaching us soon before the food does.
Our lunches are laid out in front of us, and we accept the offer of salt and pepper. The food, as always, is delicious. And as we tuck into our roast chicken, Fred Astaire sings quietly in the background.
Soon, our plates are empty and our stomachs full. After sending our compliments to the chef we return to our armchairs, sleepy from the hearty meal.
We spend the afternoon playing bingo, a game we realized, can get quite heated. The room fills with anticipation as our numbers are called out, staff and residents eager to win – (the prize is a cupcake, we decided.)
Cups of tea and coffee are placed in front of us, “There’s a shot of vodka in that!” Jokes a carer with a grin.
We sit and sip our drinks, whilst Bradley Walsh asks another question on ‘The Chase’. We all take a guess, get it wrong, and laugh at how obvious it was.
Alexa is called to attention; she plays us our favorite war time music and we all sing along. As staff and residents shake their tambourines and sway to the music, an infectious smile spreads across the room. We enjoy the way the merriment makes us feel happy inside.
As I sit in my armchair, and doze in and out of an afternoon nap, I gaze into the garden. Memories of last years summer party brings a smile to my face. I remember children giggling as they danced and played. I recall the fresh summer breeze and the way everyone seemed happy and contented.
Following a supper of hot chocolate and lemon drizzle cake, the sitting room grows darker as the afternoon turns to evening. The curtains are closed, and the lights turned on, creating a warm and cozy ambience in the sitting rooms.
Gradually the room empties, as one by one we make our way to our bedrooms. With a “goodnight everyone,” a carer helps me to my room. I undress into my nightie and am tucked in under the soft duvet.
“Good night, sleep well, I’ll see you in the morning,” she says with a warm smile, then she shuts of the light and gently closes the door.
As I lie comfortable in bed, and wait for sleep to take over, I remember the clue from the crossword: Relaxation, solace. And I realize now that the answer is obvious: Peace.
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