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The Old Folk's Home

I always hated that smell, the potent mixture of roast beef, urine, and bleach. It assailed my nostrils until I felt it beneath my eyelids, making it hard to breathe. Mom said we should always think of others, but I found it hard to reconcile how she could've packed her own mother away in some old folk's home if she really cared.

The falsely inviting wall paper couldn't fool me. That sunshine happy color scheme was a farce. Despair hung about the halls like a humidity that would never let up.

Still, I remember the way that Gran's face brightened whenever she saw me. She seemed so lonely, so desperate for our company. I always swore I'd never allow my parents to be locked away in that unwarranted prison.

It made me feel guilty. I feared I'd end up in a place like that someday. Then, just like that, she was gone. One day her body had lived too long and something as simple as the flu took its toll.

It's strange how death affects us when we're young. We never forget it. Those first losses are the ones that we remember even after we experience many others.

Now here I am signing my mother into the care of others. I know my children hate me for it. I tried, I really did. But I'm not good at handling her. It's gotten to be too much.

Story by:

Jessica Marie Baumgartner

17 March 2015