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Rated: E · Short Story · Experience · #2315592
A depressed woman visits a nursing home as therapy for her depression.
Jubilee Manor
WC 297

My good deed for the day: visit a nursing home.

“Doing good things for your community could help your recovery,” my therapist suggested. “And your depression.”

I open the front door of Jubilee Manor; the smell of decay repulses me, but I persevere. The reception area is empty. I choose a hall and begin walking.

As I pass Room 106, a frail voice from within says, “Do you work here, ma’am?”

I stick my head in. This tiny elderly lady with thin white hair is sitting at a café table near her bed.

“No. I can get someone.”

Do you live here?”

I'm only forty-three.

“No, just visiting.”

“Who? I know everyone. Been here a while.”

“No one in particular.”

“Great. Welcome to my home. I’ll make tea.”

So I sit down and watch her hold the teapot under the bathroom faucet until the water is warm.

“They won’t let us have tea kettles,” she says as she pours tap water over mint teabags in our cups.

We nibble Lorna Dune cookies and sip mint tea.

Dr. Gunderson never married and never had children; she’d been a successful psychiatrist until her health failed.

“All I have left is this one painting…” she says, pointing to what appears to be a Renoir. “…my hummingbird feeder, and the clothes that would fit in this tiny closet. And my tea set.”

I am beginning to realize how lucky I am.

She goes on, “I’m content. I’m taken care of, well-fed, and sometimes I have delightful visitors, like now...”

On my drive home, I think about how we are all so similar, just stuck in different circumstances, and need to make the best of them.

I feel good—happy!

God willing, I’ll get to revisit my new friend.

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