Walking the brightly lit halls of white walls and pastels.
Past the family holding hands in the doorway.
Past the woman looking frantically from face to face.
As if she really knows what she’s looking for.
The metal cart in the hallways full of plastic trays.
A sticky spot on the linoleum floors that might be apple juice.
Or it could be any other possible fluid to fall to this floor
I am wearing a coat.
But I am not cold
I am not caroling or soliciting
I am mourning.
I am mourning for the dead and those who have to still live that way.
You see I was seven when my grandmother got taken away.
I was seven when I was told of the winds blowing memories from her mind.
Of the lightning flashes of panic
Of the world she was watching melt like candles on an alter.
Life is short, my mother says to me,
Which at that point in my life sounds like a promise.
Coming here every month to watch minds fade away like fog.
To watch adults become children
To witness the sparks leaving their eyes
The glamorous loss of forgotten lives
But at least there are flowers
At least lilies line the hallways
At least roses rest in the windows
And Daffodils decorate the dining halls
It is the flowers that give me hope
Flowers we give at weddings and funerals and the moments in between.
Life is full of adventures and flowers
And in these rooms of pastel blues and pinks,
Like the colors of a baby shower, I am reminded that life is short.
That I only have so much time
To teach myself to cherish each moment.
Holding my grandmothers hand even after she has forgotten whose hand she is holding.
But you would think in this mausoleum for memories
This prison for the past
This resting place for all things remembered
That someone would have planted forget-me-nots.
And though the halls smell of baked goods and cleaning solution,
We all know the smell of death
And no flower’s fragrance can ever mask it.