|Aviva's bridal shower|
Lisa, Aviva, Joy and friends
L>R Cindy, Barbara, Karen, LISA, Joy, Karen
Yda, T'mimah, Annette, AVIVA, Hare
four hours after earlier post
~ by Joy
March 25, 2008
This photo shows Lisa (86) and my mostly Valley friends at Aviva's Valley bridal shower on June 5, 2005. The day before our big simcha, Lisa realized that she could not attend Aviva's wedding when her family reminded her of other plans, and we sadly missed her celebrating with us.
I drove Lisa out to Marcel's, z'l, grave site the day before his matzeivah / gravestone unveiling (2 years after the bridal shower) so that we could plant flowers and Lisa could visit. Lisa came over (with her aide) the next day for a gathering following the unveiling.
I wrote to you a couple hours ago about my deep wrenching sadness with my dear friend, Lisa, having moved yesterday to a "retirement facility". I had not been aware of this sudden move; no one in her family had clued me in until concerned about her whereabouts and her lack of response, I called them looking for her.
I'm feeling so much better after locating and reaching Lisa. I want you to know that I just got to laugh with Lisa on the phone. She finally got back to her room (sounds like a suite), her new 'home' at Sunrise, and we talked, and she told me she loves me.
She assured me that she tried calling me yesterday (while I was at retreat) to tell me she was moving but chose not to leave a "cold" message. (Of course, at first, she did not even realize it was me talking to her: "Who is this?") I don't know how she figures out what to remember when most of it is negligible. But I feel a whole lot better knowing that she said she did call me. It is not only memory anymore, but much confusion also, about the most familiar issues. Not long before her move, Lisa had called me to "pick up her newspapers" as she was going to her daughter's for a couple days, but in fact, she was returning home when she called.
In the first several minutes of our lengthy joyous conversation at her new home, Lisa told me six times about the bed and its "happy colors", and table and lamp and couch, and that yes, she looks over the garden (when I asked), although at first did not know she was on an upper level. She thought she was at home-- the home she moved from yesterday. On the phone with me, she had to really look around to see that the place was different.
Lisa was sure that she had my phone number in the desk drawer next to her, where she "always keeps it" (for 25 years), so she did not need to write it down. (I was questioning my own sanity.) She said she would go back home shortly, so I talked to her about that. Lisa thinks she'll go home in a week. I guess each week, it will be "next week." She agreed with me that with all her activities, the place is like a cruise ship. I asked if personnel come to get her for activities. "How can they, with 100 residents?", she retorted.
Lisa is sorrowful about not having her pool and none where she is now living. Already Lisa does not even remember her home, except that she thinks she's returning to it, which she'll forget about in another moment.
She has "Peeps", her yellow parakeet with her. I could clearly hear him. I called him "Peeps" because he looks like an Easter marshmallow. I had destain for him when he tried to bite me years ago, so I would no longer use his name, "Pupalina". Of course before that, the bird loved me and when out of his cage, would climb all over me, starting from my leather Birkenstocks, up my dress to my head. Lisa did not remember that yesterday she had a fish, "Julio". Does she remember her live turtles which her grandson now has back, or "Tortalina", the garden turtle sculpture by the pool steps? Everyone and everything was named. Lisa was fluent in Spanish and used it.
Lisa is happy that she has her books to read; always a tall stack in the bedroom. We had our favorite Jewish books to read together. I always read to Lisa as we took our hour-long walks. She told me that she always kept one of my books next to her bed.
Lisa's happy with the 45 minute exercise she had this morning, and the meals. She said her family visits every day, but no, they did not yet visit today. (Hello world, she only moved in there yesterday.)
While I was on the phone, a man came to her room to say that the "piano concert" is starting in "five minutes." I asked her to "go down immediately" because I know that in one minute she won't remember to do so She said she had to first change. Too bad.
Lisa laughed telling me that the people complain that they had same ice cream, same as day before. How did she remember this? How did she remember that she chose tuna from the menu and not in error, the traif? Lisa never remembers what she ate, not for a couple years, nor where she ate.
As long as Lisa thinks she is on holiday somewhere, she'll do just fine, and better than that with activities and decent food. This place is the best around here, not counting the Jewish Home for the Aged, and the small board and care Israeli home. Lisa is happy that she is going on their facility trip tomorrow. I promised her that I would see her on her 89th birthday in another day.
I have a feeling that while on the elevator from her room to the first floor activities and meals, Lisa will be like "Charlie and the MTA" riding forever the trains of Boston, his fate unknown, never getting off, never returning....
One love, shalom and abundant blesSings of harmony, wholeness, health and joy to you,
"Serve G*d With Joy"
I did visit dear Lisa on her 89th birthday, although she did not want to celebrate and was not interested in being with the other residents. Lisa enjoyed the visiting piano player and her little glass of wine. I met the staff and agreed to serve as volunteer guide for some trips. I checked the monthly schedule of events so that I could encourage Lisa to participate. I showed Lisa where her new mailbox was located. I introduced Lisa to new people and they welcomed her.
I brought to Lisa, flowers in a new vase, and a framed story that I had written about her, framed to match the blue color of her new couch. Strangely these things as well as a loved framed photo I had given to her of her and husband, Joe, of blessed memory, were all gone by the next visits. Lisa had one small artistic box from home that I had given to her out of a collection of dozens of lovely boxes that I had given to her from my travels over the years. Lisa had enjoyed all these gifts and the meaningful personal surprises that I had place inside. I was sorry that there was not room for more than the one. (What did her family do with all the others?) On my last visit to that facility, the little box was gone.
Just as I thought before I was even there to experience the reality, Lisa rode the elevator never pushing the button, not knowing where she was or where she was going, or when to get off, or where her things were, like purse or key.
Lisa had lived in different countries trying to escape from the Nazis, before making it to America in 1954, but this retirement facility was a new foreign land.
(Later Lisa would be moved to the 'Alzheimer's unit' without elevators.)
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