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A day in the life of Milton… and remembering Peege

By idaflo | August 21st, 2010 | 2 Comments » 

A country road into the mistDear Milton,

So you have your new life in a nursing home.  It smells bad.  Most folks there cannot communicate well, due to impaired mental and physical capacity, so for you as a blind man, it is particularly isolating. You have needs that require custodial care, but they aren’t shaving you enough, you aren’t as clean as you used to be, your legs are starting to swell so now you rely on being moved in a wheelchair…. and you seemed more remote when at first I tried to engage you in conversation.  We’ve been gone for two weeks on vacation; how can you have changed so quickly?  Once we started talking – I asked LOTS of questions, you started to seem more like yourself again.

Tomorrow you turn 70, so we have a party planned for you Sunday at church, during coffee time.  You said you wanted a party and a birthday cake,  before we even brought it up.  THAT’S my Milton.  Yet I am not sure how best to help you in your present situation.  We will look into more Braille books, books on tape, and a radio that is easier for you to operate and control…that won’t tempt any potential thief.

Christ is faithful, you are in His care.  I WILL be in touch.

It calls to mind Peege, a powerful short film that was making the rounds while I was in college.  It is not available online, but here is a link to it, with a clip.

Following is the description available from Youtube:

“Your laugh would always make me happy,” the young man whispers to his aged grandmother, Peege, who, now blind and helpless, seems to be awaiting death. This touching, poignant film portrays a family’s Christmas visit to their grandmother, a patient in a nursing home, and their sense of despair and isolation as they struggle vainly to communicate. But when other family members leave the room, the grandson stays behind, touching her hand and her hair and reminiscing about Peege as a laughing, fun-loving person. The young man leaves, tearful and unsure whether he penetrated her dark loneliness. Director Randal Kleiser’s camera, deftly lingering on her face, delivers the subtle yet clear answer. This award-winning film stars Bruce Davison and Jeanette Nolan, and was produced by David Knapp and Leonard Berman. 28 minutes, color.

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  • Tedbadje

    They showed ‘Peege’ when I was 14 in Camp Luther, outside of Schuyler, NE. It was pretty poignant. You never know how people are reached though their mental capacities seem to be gone.

  • Bjalm

    Give Milton a squeeze for me, and tell him a belated happy 70th Birthday. I feel involved because of meeting him twice with you. Hopefully the party cheeered him up. Maybe your being away left him feeling very lonely and a little jealous? I am happy you got him to finally open up. Bye…. Betty

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