Monday, 6 February 2017


In a moment of lucidity, Ethel knows she isn't home. She hears the sounds of the nursing home: loud voices and chesty wheeze of her room-mate, Doris. The tea trolley squeaks, rattling the teacups and cutlery. Air freshener hangs in the air to blot out the odour of ageing bodies with their bed for bathrooms. She pulls the bedclothes over her grey head, closes her eyes to her new home and slips into a world where all’s in the past and far easier on her mind….

No, this is not Ethel’s home, for home was a whistling jug, and churning washer, a humming fridge filled with food, kitchen with clinking cups and rattling cutlery, where her brown hair would droop over steam from the iron, and the screen door would bang, and the toilet flush, where a bath was running, and a vacuum cleaner hummed after she washed her breakfast dishes in steamy suds. Where steaks were sizzling and pots were bubbling, and line-dried sheets waited to be folded, and apple and cinnamon were dinner’s desserts and lavender handwash blended with pot pourri and roses out in the garden.

Where dogs yapped and tabby cats napped- there was her home of linoleum floors smooth on her feet, and blue rinsed sheets and blankets waiting to receive her from the smooth clean bathtub with soft white towels, her room with warm afghan draped over her chair.

Where once her husband held out his strong arms for her- arms that timed her pains then rocked all their babies and paced the floor with colicky infants and still rose early and chopped all her wood, and laboured all day in the fields to support them- this was her home….

The nurse can hear the soft muffled sobs and draws in her breath, lets it out with a sigh- no need to ask Ethel what's wrong, for she already knows, the reason is plain: like all of them there- she knows she just wants to go home!

This word picture was written for my Aunt, who just wants to go home too.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

" Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old" Proverbs 23:22


  1. What a sad, beautiful story. You bring to life how so many feel. I know if I were in a nursing home, I would feel the same way. It brings back a very sad memory of my Dad just wanting to go home.

  2. This is the blog I use, the one I signed in under for the comment I just did is kind of a back up blog incase blogger deletes me.

  3. My aunt passed away a couple of months ago, a year after I wrote this. Very quietly slipped away in her sleep.... I feel for those in a nursing home and can only say that I was glad in the end, for the most part that she wasn't aware that she wasn't home.

    I am so glad that I saved my original blog because there was a mix up with google and I lost it.... I am still restoring pictures etc to this one... very tedious job... you are wise to back yours up.

    Thanks to you both for commenting today, blessings Glenys

  4. This was a very moving yet sad story.

    I used to work part-time in a nursing home as an evening receptionist when I was unmarried. It was a very sad place, where the smells were not pleasant and sometimes, neither were the nurses. Also, many family members did not come to visit their loved ones. Very sad, indeed!

  5. Mara, I think the worst part is that family members don't come to visit... like in the film The Notebook, there are times when reality registers... I would want to be there... Thanks for commenting today!

  6. This is sad and timely - my mum is approaching 80 and in very poor health. She has just spent 2 weeks in hospital and hated it and so desperate to be home (which she is now) - but she knows that it won't be long before she will have to live full-time in a hospice and that is the saddest thought for her as she doesn't want to leave my dad who is currently caring for her. The nurses don't care for her like dad does, it is so noisy and of course, she is one of many and not important as she is to her husband. I doubt she would last too long in a nursing home, just fade away. In some way - she just want to go home to the Lord as soon as possible.

  7. Joluise, I am so sorry that your mum is so unwell... my mother is 81 and is in poor health too. She has said that she will not last long if she has to go into a nursing home. It is sad to watch your parents age.
    Blessings, Glenys


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