She sat outside the nursing home entrance in her wheelchair cigarette hanging out of her mouth, pen and pad in her hands. The sun was shining down on her snow-white hair, and she looked like a woman with a lot on her mind. Maude is not your average 82 year-old woman. She sees me coming up the sidewalk, and asks me what took me so long to get there. I laughed and told her that job of mine is always getting in the way of my hangout time at the nursing home.
She looks me over,and tells me she doesn’t have time for chit-chat this morning followed by “My Goddamned arthritis is acting up. I can’t even hold this pen. I need you to play secretary for me when you get done bathing the vegetable.” I remind her that nicknaming my loved one the vegetable is not exactly nice. She looks up at me over the top of her glasses, and says “Well he lays in that bed like a Goddamn tomato ripening on a vine, so what do you think we should call him Skippy?” I tell her “Okay, but I think you should put that cigarette out before the Sister sees you.” Maude tells me she’s not Catholic so she doesn’t have to listen to the Sister.
I personally have no desire to cross the Sister so I head upstairs to visit my loved one. Besides I could see that Maude was going to put me to work after our visit, and I still needed to pick my brother up from work. My loved one was not in any better of a mood than Maude seemed to be in, this was actually in my favor since Maude was now hovering outside my loved ones door impatiently waiting for me to finish his bath. I ask her “What are you doing, stalking me now?” She tells me “enough with the chit-chat I need you to play secretary.” I kiss my loved one who was ready to sleep now, and I headed out to the screened in porch with Maude.
She was my loved ones dining companion when he was still able to go to the dining room for meals. He was just like her without the foul mouth, very lively always up to something. Maude misses him now that he is bed ridden. It bothers her to see him in his bed so she just hovers outside his room to peek at him on occasion. I asked her ” Now what’s so urgent did you run out of booze or something?” She says “No smart ass I want to write my own obituary. If I leave it up to my sister she’ll just screw it up.” I tell her “I’ve met your sister, she’s a smart cookie, and would probably do a great job.” Maude replies “No she wouldn’t, she’s always been jealous of my boobs she’ll try to use my obituary to make herself look good.”
So after a good laugh we get down to the business of writing her obituary. Maude tells me to wipe the sad look off of my face joking that it’s not the end of the world just her life. This time I fake a laugh, I don’t like that she is so set on getting this done. She begins to speak, and I began to write.
I was born in Harrisburg,Pennsylvania a long-ass time ago.
I had wonderful parents, and siblings. I enjoyed my childhood, and got into
more mischief than most. I married a great man who made me laugh
every single day for 51 years. I was always a little sad that we never
had children, but I was always surrounded by good family, and friends.
Everything else is none of your damn business.
I looked at her waiting for her to say she was just kidding around, instead she lit up another cigarette. Then she said “God I wish I could just be there to see my sister’s face when she reads this.” 😉