Where Kindness Lives

photo by Hapal, CC Flickr
photo by Hapal, CC Flickr
I’m standing in the middle of a senior centre, telling a story. Most of the seniors here suffer from some form of dementia. I’m nervous – I don’t know what’s going to resonate.

But here I am, standing in the middle of the room, and I’m telling Robert Munsch’s story “Love You Forever”. The story begins with a young woman singing to her baby. The baby grows up, but she keeps sneaking into his room at night and singing about how much she loves him, even when he’s a grown up man living in his own house.

So I’m telling the story. I’m being the mother, I’m singing the song, I’m holding the boy.

And then she gets old, and sick, and calls him up and asks him to come to see her. And he walks in the door, and she tries to sing him the song, but she’s too old and too sick. And I’m standing there being the old lady and pretending I’m confused.

But here’s the thing: the residents think that *I* have forgotten the song. And they begin singing for me.

The seniors, who mostly don’t know where they are or who they are, THEY are helping ME.

And, you know, I ALMOST burst into tears, but I manage to tell the rest – the man holding his mother and singing about how much he loves her – without losing it.

Then, later, at the bus stop, I bawl like a little kid.