Everyday this week she has called me up in the Public Information Office.
“Who am I speaking with, please?”
I tell her she has the City’s Public Info Office.
“I need to talk to someone about my house. There are people living in my house, and I paid for that house. They have changed the locks. I live in Presbyterian Manor. I need to get them out of my house.”
Presbyterian Manor is what is frequently referred to as “The Rest Home.” It is a place where many elderly end up when they can no longer be alone in their own houses. It’s a bit of a red flag that she is calling about her house, but can’t live there. I am beginning to think that her children have placed her in Presbyterian Manor and sold her house. The day before her story was a bit different.
“Hello, who am I speaking with, please?”
I tell her she has reached the City’s Public Information Office.
“Somebody is trying to take my house. It has For Sale signs in the yard. I paid for that house. Why is somebody trying to take it?”
On that particular day I had transferred her to the Property Management Office just to make sure there wasn’t a municipal lean on it. Today, I transferred her to the County Courthouse.
“How do I get these people out?” she had asked me again.
“Have you talked to the police?” I said.
“They said I would have to get an attorney,” she replied.
I am sad that this lovely elderly woman has had to leave her house. It is a journey than many people have to make at some point toward the end of their lives. It may be easier for some than others, but most likely very difficult for those who lived many years in one place.
“I would like my house back,” she repeats.
I want to tell her that she can take those beautiful memories: memories of sitting next to her husband on the lawn, of playing with her little dog in the yard, of fitting her daughter with the perfect lace dress, of batting down during crazy spring storms, of lighting the perfect fire on a cold night, of praying for her son while he was away in the Army, of finding the perfect rug, cleaning the windows, lighting candles, waving goodbye to her children, of Christmases, Easters, Thanksgiving Turkeys…. I want to tell her that she can take these moments and she can package them up with beautiful lavender wrappings, and she can carry these wherever she goes and that nobody can take them from her. She can carry these memories, snippets of time back to Presbyterian Manor and she can take them out one-by-one as she needs to. I would like to tell her to do this and to go out and live these last few moments by sharing them with those who are near to her now and who need to be reminded that we can still find love and comfort in the world, and there are some things that can never be taken from us.