Mia squeezed Mommy’s hand as they walked into the building. “I’m scared,” she whimpered. “What kind of place is this?”
“It’s called a nursing home, honey,” Mommy explained. It’s a place for older people who need more attention than their families can give them.”
What did that mean exactly? Mia could give Nana Fraley all the attention she wanted, couldn’t she?
The walk down the hallway seemed to take forever. The air smelled funny and it was super quiet.
A plump lady carrying a clipboard rushed past.
“Excuse me,” Mommy said, “Could you tell me where Room 1205 is, please?”
The lady stopped and an exasperated sigh escaped her puckered lips. “Keep going down this hall, turn left and it should be right there.” And then she was gone.
Mommy smiled faintly as she finally opened the door to her grandmother’s new quarters.
Mia ran to the woman’s side. “Hi, Nana. We came to visit you today. Do you want to go to lunch?”
Blank eyes stared at the girl. “Who are you?”
“It’s Mia. Don’t you remember me?” The child’s chin quivered.
Mommy kneeled next to the elderly woman. “We want to take you out for the afternoon. Would you like that?”
Deep lines etched across Nana’s brow. “The garden,” she replied in a monotone. “Take me to the garden.”
Moments later the trio sat on an ornate wooden bench, a host of multi-colored roses, daffodils and sunflowers bowing around them.
Nana closed her eyes.
“Are you okay?” Mia asked concern in her voice.
“The breeze, it brings me joy.”
Mia closed her eyes as well.
Days later Mommy and Mia stood in front of a mauve-colored casket.
“I brought you some joy, Nana. Please share it with the angels in Heaven.”
Tears in her eyes, Mommy smiled at her six-year-old daughter and the small empty container she held.