Dancing Hand in Hand with Our Sisters
It seems the gods are smiling upon us even here, in the Bermuda Triangle of Dementia. Yesterday was Patsy’s first day at senior day care. This was intended as an emergency/stop gap; until we find proper assisted living to fit her needs. In the morning, when I went to deliver her to “The Club” she was resistant; “They dance in wheel chairs”. I was hopeful, but frightened, that she would reject the whole thing, out of hand. Stubborn could very well be our middle names. Five hours later when I returned, she was beaming; she had found her people. I hung around for an hour, until she was ready to leave. They were in the middle of a live concert when I arrived. Like any group of women, there was a more-feisty contingent of gals, that will hit the dance floor at the drop of a hat. By then I was sitting next to my mom, listening to the guitar player; who was belting out tunes with the voice of a very earthy angel. So, when the first woman, then the second and third popped up to dance; I held my breath. With out the slightest hint of hesitation; but with the typical struggle to get up, out of her chair; she was off to the dance floor. For her and the other dancers, this was not “adult day care”, this was not the night club or juke joint of the past, this was the perfect moment of the here and now. It was a party. I burst into tears when I saw her dancing with wild abandon, hand in hand with her new gal friends and the one-man spicing things up for everyone. She was really living in her joy; enjoying life to the fullest. As I watched her dance, I saw her left shoulder rise and fall in a certain way; the way that newly single woman, in her fifties, used to dance; it was a sensuous move. It was a signature move. We all have them, and I guess we always will. After her second dance, since my arrival, she leaned over to me and said, “This is a good thing, this is a really good thing.” After the concert the air magically filled with the powerful aroma of freshly baked white chocolate chip cookies and it was afternoon coffee and tea time. Seems to me she is ready now, to have someone baking fresh cookies for her. She was chatting away like she had known these people her whole life. And in a way, she has; they are her people; raised up under the cloud of the great depression; held down by patriarchy, watching their daughters navigating a changing world. It wasn’t easy to be the wives of patriarchy in the 50’s and 60’s. So much repression and Valium in those days. And still, patriarchy rages on, killing its sons, in so many ways, (war; the emotional neglect of boys; and capitalisms slow march to the gallows, to name just three) before it’s daughters. And so, we dance, hand in hand with our sisters, as we always have and always will.
Cathie Jo, April, 10th. 2019
Pollock Pines, CA