Monday, May 22, 2006

Third Night Without Sleep

Bea has never had such insomnia. It is sort of like being doped up on something. I cannot help but wonder when she is going to crash. Maybe there have been too many guests over the past few days? Yesterday she had a nice visit with grandson Alex who came with his girlfriend. Today my daughter Stephanie was here with Jamie.

When I go in to see Bea a final time around 10, she is chattering away like an over-excited toddler. Her eyes have an unusual wild look. Her thin gray hair is spread out over the pillow, framing her face. I am touched by how frail she is.

“You must be quiet now,” I say firmly. “Stephi and Jamie are trying to sleep upstairs.”

I go back to my room and drift off, exhausted.

In the morning I ask Stephi if she heard Grandma the night before. Stephi says, indeed, she had to go down and tell her to sleep:

“It’s time to sleep.”

“Is it night again?” Bea asks.

Stephi replies to the affirmative.

“I’ve been trying to sleep,” Bea says. “I’ll try harder.”

Stephanie sits down by Bea’s bedside and waits.

Five minutes later the monologue starts up again: “Why don’t you pour yourself another drink, Kitty? …”

Stephi reaches the same conclusion: "She's happy, in the past, having a party. Entertaining has always been an activity she enjoyed. As long as there isn’t too much noise, why stop the fun?"

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