Meanwhile at the VA Dementia Ward

Rainy Wednesday

A rainy Wednesday at the VA Dementia Ward

After a good visit Sunday, both of my guys were in worse shape today: each was barely able to speak.

On Sunday, I left each with my standard parting advice, “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” And through all the gauzy layers of illness, they each gave me an unmistakable hint of a grin.

But today, I did’t say it.

I had that difficult moment when I realized that both of them had drifted back to sleep, or very close, and that I could just leave.

It is merely human to find yourself thinking “Oh good, they are so sick that I can’t really visit, so I can leave now.”

I have been through this enough times to know this is just human nature and I don’t judge myself for having that thought, that feeling, floating across.

***

I am working in distant partnership with the crew that is doing the wall repairs in the tunnels: they scrape and sand, then I come along and see old soldier visions in their work.

Like this portrait of a combat boot.

Some other collaborator has added a dimension to the work by splashing coffee, artfully, on the boot.

Perhaps I should print the photo, frame it, and hang it right next to the actual boot inscribed in the tunnel wall.

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