Sunday, March 20, 2011


As you can see, I talked to GOD.

He told me to stare up at the sky and squeeze my nipples...hard.  GOD was naughty.  I'm a sport, so I obliged.  If nothing else, I knew it would make a great shot.  I decided NOT to post that picture and posted this instead.  I didn't want to offend any readers.

I went to visit Dad in the nursing home today.  His "GIRLS" (UCONN women's basketball team) were on and playing strong.  He loves his girls.  They know the fundamentals of basketball.  They're fierce.  They're determined.  They respect their coach.

I found Dad fast asleep in the dining room - drooling.  His lunch untouched.  His pants soaking wet.  His hearing aid missing.  His dentures sagging.  His hair uncombed.

Dad loves food.
Dad knows he's handsome.
Dad is stubborn.

I wheeled him into his room and turned on the TV.
NO sports channel.
$425.00 a day and no sports.

"Put on the game?" demands Dad.

"It's not on Dad.  They play next Sunday"

"Ohhh kay" sighs Dad.

Again, I talked to GOD.  I asked him why?  This time, GOD is silent.

Less than a week ago, Dad laid in a hospital bed, screaming in pain.  I told him it was okay to go.  That I would be fine.

"OKAY" he said, "I'm going to start now."

15 minutes later, he opened his eyes ...wide and asked, "got any candy?"

I have 8 candy bars hidden in his bedside drawer.  Today, Dad doesn't want candy.

Here... at the nursing home, no one walks.
Most don't talk, except for several of the women.
One moans.  Every 12 seconds she lets out a loud moan.
Another screams, "help me, help me please!"

The others call out for their mother.  "MaMa, where are you?"  "MaMa?... MaMa!... MaMa?" ...over and over again.

The men are silent.  This is how they cope.

"He talks?" asked his 3 to 11 nurse, after 5 days of caring for him.

YES, he talks.  And less than two weeks ago, he walked.

I asked the doctors, nurses and aids, if any of the men call out for their parents.


I asked the doctors, nurses and aids, if any of the women call out for their fathers.

"No, never"

Isn't THAT peculiar?

Is it generational?
Is it genetics?
Is it nurture or nature?

Will the children of our time - those actively raised by both parents - will they crave their Daddy's when their time is near?

Does anyone call out for GOD, or their priest, chaplain, or minister?

NO... just their MaMa's.

Not Mother, or Mom - its always "MaMa"

Typically, the first spoken word.

Today, when I visited my father, I wheeled him down the corridors...

Past the TV room, the solarium, the Koi pond, and the library...
Past the line of wheelchairs, the blank stares and the drooping, drooling mouths...
Past the sparse, single and double occupied rooms tightened in vibrant floral bedspreads with dusty silk flowers on the window sills and starving artist paintings on the wall...

I asked my father if he knew anyone.

"Yes" he answered, "Jesus is here."

"Have you talked to him?" I asked.

"No, you talk to him," he ordered.

It's time I talk to Jesus.

I was just reminded that I did, in fact, talk to Jesus.  Time to talk to Jesus AGAIN... maybe a text.  


  1. It's such a difficult journey. And it's hard to hear all the voices calling for help in the nursing home, but you picked up on some really interesting patterns. I hope there will be a little humor in each day.

  2. Your writing, which is so terrifically honest, touches me deeply. I am in the process of placing my mother and mother-in-law in a nursing home. But as I visit some, and now after reading your story, it's possible I won't go through with it. But, I've decided to talk to Jesus, or any god who will listen.

    Thanks for sharing your moments.

  3. I do tend to find humor... and if I'm lucky... purpose.

    today, as I was leaving, I spotted Katherine. Katherine arrive about the same time as my dad. Her mind is clear. "Are you in pain" I asked. "HELL YES" she answered. ... think I'll save the rest for another post.

    Thank you both for reading and commenting. I have to remember to keep it simple, and keep it honest. in life and in my writing.

  4. The journey you are on is fraught with sadness and intrigue, isn't it? I'd text Jesus. He's younger and more into that.

    Your writing is absolutely beautiful.

  5. I talk to God often. Most often his answer is No. Occasionaly, I get a "Hell No."

    Your Dad cracks me up... even if he doesn't mean to. :) ((((Hugs)))

  6. I am so sad about your Dad being there. I can't even imagine how difficult that must be for you to deal with. I am crying tonight for you. I will pray and talk to God too. I am sorry you are hurting and dealing with this very hard thing.

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  8. LOL, I got the humor but I also get the pain. It is SO hard to see our loved ones change with the wind. Can you tape the games for him? Always here and always thinking of you :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  9. I thought the same thing Jules - I'll tape the games. But sadly... I don't think he's capable of following them. Even so... I will tape the games. :) if not for him then for me.

  10. Oh you just gave me a great idea... I need to change that last picture.

  11. Wow.

    I've thought about that before: If my memory was fading and my mind dwindling, what would be the LAST thing my conscious mind would hang onto?

    The last thing to go is one's mother, consciously or subconsciously.

    I don't know what to make of that, one way or the other. But it is food for thought...

  12. I'm in love with your father, too... XOXOXO

  13. I knew that you had hooked up with Jesus, before. Hey, now that you're in with him, you should be able to get a call through.

  14. Wiah I could be there to help you go through this. I am hoping your Dad is fine where he is, and getting better care now than at the beginning of this story. ((HUGS))

  15. It is an amazing observation you made. This MaMa business. At first I thought it was a creaky wheel on the wheel chair of the main MaMa caller. Does she even move her mouth when she is saying it. Like a ventriliquist

  16. once again, an excellent post - and yes, a really tough road you are on! You are lucky to be able to have some time with him, and you capture the best and hardest times. Love ya bunches!

  17. My dad's house goes to closing at the end of the month and I'm reliving my parents' last years. The nursing home adventure is quite the trip and definitely should be taken with a healthy dose of humor. If anyone's up to the task, it's you. Rock on, Mr. Kennedy.

  18. First of all, thank you for stopping over and commenting on 400 Wake-Ups. I adore your writing. You have the gift of writing insightful and thought-provoking sentences and making them concise. That's a talent that many bloggers don't have. Also, you have lived quite the life...talking to God, to Jesus, going to UCONN games...I'm going to have great fun stopping over often!

    These are the hardest days, aren't they? When someone is clinging to life and sometimes you just have to sit back and watch and try not to let the helplessness eat you up inside. Your humor, your wisdom, your thoughts will get you through. And I appreciate that you are taking us along with you.
    GO LADY HUSKIES (is that what they're called?) and GO BIG BLUE!!!

  19. DAMN.....that was quite the WAKE UP!!! I am trying really hard to focus on my voice and give up my minds idea of what is well written. Thank YOU everyone!

  20. Whenever I'm at my lowest, I always want my mama. Damn, this was an awesome post.


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison