I was afraid if I came to the Mansion for a long time, I would tire of it, as I have often done with the places I visit. But that is not the case. I have come to love the Mansion, the staffers and residents who inhabit this remarkable space.
Joan has severe memory problems, but I have had some of the most beautiful conversations with her that I have had with anyone. We talk all the time, we chat like old friends, we trade smiles and gestures and emotions, Joan is sensitive to enthusiasm and affection and wonder.
Joan was gone for several weeks, but has come “home,” as she puts it.
She is always full of wonder. Today, she was meeting with her physical therapist who is helping her to recover from an injury (the therapist had a cold, thus the mask). The therapist is helping her to walk safely and comfortably. She is very nice.
She asked me what things Joan loved to do, and I said poetry and painting and gazing out windows were the thing Joan seemed to love the most.
And poetry I said, Joan and I do poems together all of the time.
Can I show you?, I asked, and she said sure.
So Joan and I did a poem together.
It is cold sometimes,
and warm sometimes,
and of course, don’t you know
that you can have fun on most days of the week,’
and this is the most beautiful
and kind dog,
he can fly and walk through doors.
She and her therapist are going to do a painting together later in the week.
She paints too?, she asked me, impressed by Joan.
Yes, I said, I have a painting on the wall of my study that Joan wrote. And a poem too.