Warm Place & Old Folks by Marg Bart


I had another moment of humanity present itself recently. I think the retirement home lends itself well to exhibiting humanness.¬†She is old and frail ; probably only 5’2 and she has tubes in her nostrils.

She smiles when I smile,

and she tells me when shes ready to walk in the garden.

We sat on a bench together and she told me with a smile that she feels a bit sad today. Its the 3rd anniversary of her husbands death. She told me people are too scared to talk with her about him, but she wants to remember, she told me; being sad is good sometimes.

I wondered if David would want her to be sad on the anniversary of his death, and she told me, “he would want me to be sad, if the roles were reversed, I’d be angry to look down on him happy.”

I asked her what she missed most about him.

Every day before bed, she brushed her hair in the bathroom as David laid on the left side of the bed. She braided her hair, and she washed her face. In bare feet, and nightgown, every night she would emerge from the bathroom as David moved to the right side of the same mattress she still has. She slid under covers to that place on the bed that he had made warm for her. She fell asleep on that warm place, in that warm place, every night for 58 years. A simple nighttime routine through 5 children and 4 cities and 3 mattresses.

She doesn’t braid her hair anymore, and she says that she misses that warm place the most.

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