Feels Like Home
Sarah Mills (not her real name) passed away a few years ago at the ripe old age of 92. She was a feisty lady with an infectious sparkle untarnished by time.
I’ve never forgotten my brief encounter with her at one of my NestBuilding seminars. At the end of the session when I opened the floor to questions and comments, her arm was the first to shoot up. She spoke about her then recent move into an assisted living facility. After 70+ years in her own home, she said it was difficult to settle into a single room with only a handful of her most treasured possessions. It was not until her favourite art and photographs were hung on the walls that she was able to feel properly at home.
After the session, lunch was served and I noticed the lady sitting beside Sarah was cutting up her food for her and describing what was on the plate before her. That’s when I realized that Sarah Mills was completely blind and, as I soon learned, had been for the past several years.
Her tale clearly confirmed what most of us already know, consciously or otherwise: home is a feeling and Sarah wasn’t ‘at home’ without her pictures. And, even though she’d never see them again … she needed to know they were there.
Later she whispered to me that one of the attendants had told her that her lovely new room was painted a soft shade of green.
“I hate green,” she said with a giggle, “so I’ve had it repainted, robin’s egg blue.”
“That’s nice that they did that for you,” I remarked.
“Oh no, dear, they didn’t repaint or anything like that, I settled on the colour in my head. One of the advantages of my diminished faculties, you could say!”