I’m here to visit one of my good friends who’s recently been checked into a Memory Care facility. Such a gentle phrase. Care for the Memory. So much kinder than dementia or Alzheimer’s. I’m in a sort of all-purpose room, a Great Room, as they say. About half of the folks in this room are in wheel chairs, the others collapsed into recliners, fast asleep. I count a dozen women, two men. One of them is my friend. “Is the orchestra still playing?” a woman asks me as I walk by. I look around. Of course there is no orchestra anywhere in sight.
“Oh, yes,” I tell her, taking her hand. “The orchestra is still playing. It will always be playing.” I want to run from that room. But I stand still and listen. And there it is. Faure’s “Requiem” inside my head. I see that the room is full of light. I sit down and know I can stay awhile.
I have never written a blog before. I don’t even know if this is the right name for it. But I hope this is a beginning of something that will heal and bring joy and laughter but also a reverence for the places of sorrow.
I think it was Tolstoi that said, “There are places in the heart that would not exist but that sorrow made them so.” Tonight is the 7th anniversary of the day my husband died. It seems like a lifetime ago. It seems like yesterday. I am sad all day. I once wrote: “If only I had known that . . . I would do everything I could to save him, knowing all along that he could not be saved, and that my heart would break beyond breaking, then break again. If only I’d seen the sun glinting off those sunslept waters as my love lets down the fishing lines, and off in the distance a salmon leaps—a silver flashing in the sky as if to split the heart of the sun—before it disappears into a soundless splash, in this all too brief and luminous season, to spawn and to die—oh, how I would have sung that song.”