YELLOW IS THE COLOR…
by Amy Ferris
May 20th, 2012 – 10:57am
oh. life stories.
we were deciding on whether or not my mom should be moved one more rung up the assisted living ladder.
on one of my last visits, i went to check out what was considered the “last stop” within the facility itself. it was designed like a dormitory – each room had two single beds and next to the beds were night tables and/or a small dresser, a recliner and/or a rocking chair tucked into the corner. a couple of paintings and photos hung on either side of the walls. most beds had railings so that none of the folks could fall easily out at night. the furnishings were sparse, the rooms tidy, the walls filled with one or two memories of that person on their side of the room. outside the room, on either side of the door, were glass cases filled with figurines, and hummel pieces, and various personal tchokches, and framed photos of family and friends – personal effects. next to the glass cases, hanging on the wall, were framed pieces of paper. written on each piece of paper was the name, his or her age, and a life story. some were a full page long, some half a page, some were just a few lines. each informing you who that person was, lying in that single bed, sitting in that rocking chair, or listening to the radio as he or she reclined. the family and friends framed photos neatly arranged in each glass case.
one man was a car salesman. he loved baseball. he had two kids, a boy and a girl, and two grand kids. His wife died years earlier, and he had alzheimer’s.
a woman named becky was a beautician. she came from a very large family in the midwest. she had never married. she liked happy faces and loved the color yellow. she had dementia.
another man worked the railroads, lived in colorado, where he raised three girls and had twelve grandkids. one of his daughters was living with another woman who he referred to as his fourth daughter. he had alzheimers.
another man was a holocaust survivor. he loved chocolate, his wife’s name was muriel. and he always wore long sleeved shirts.
each page told a brief story.
i’m sure most — not all — were written by relatives, or friends, remembrances of that life lived.
and as i walked up and down the hall, i couldn’t bare my mother becoming one page.
there was so much — so very much – to read and write and share between the lines.
over eighty some odd years of so very much.
and so, she didn’t move up the ladder.
and yet as i write this, and think about it, i knew everything i needed to know about each person in each room. i mean, my god, just knowing that someone loved the color yellow tells me everything.
i believe, right now, in this moment – in memory of so many – that we are each, every one of us at least one (or two, or three, or four….) book worthy.
Amy Ferris is the author of Marrying George Clooney: Confessions of a Midlife Crisis. Her blog continues in the same vein as her book – to support and encourage women to fulfill their greatness; to be bold, audacious, extraordinary and beautiful. She has contributed to numerous anthologies. Dancing at The Shame Prom: Sharing the stories that kept us small, an anthology by Amy Ferris and Holly Dexter – Fall 2012 (Seal Press).