The Elevator in the Memory Care Center

She rides the elevator in the memory care center every evening after dinner, hoping to get to the 3rd floor. There’s a button for the 3rd floor but, no matter how many times she pushes the button, the highest she gets is the second floor. (The third floor is locked off in the memory care center.)

She gets off on the second floor, greets the two men sitting in the chairs in the alcove, and shuffles down the long hallway. At the end of the hall, she does an about face and returns to the elevator, greeting us again as though she’s never seen us before. She mumbles something about the third floor. She pushes the elevator button. Elevator opens. She gets on. Elevator door opens. She gets off, greets us, mumbling something about the third floor, and repeats the pattern. Over and over again.

The two men in the alcove are consulting about their loved one in a room on the second floor who’s suffered a stroke, a TIA, or a heart attack. We don’t know which. All we know is that she has taken a turn for the worse during lunch. Our loved one is resting quietly after her pastor’s visit. She she had taken his face in her hands with clarity of mind enough for a smile and bantering humor. The prayer has taken her deep into some place no one can touch, come place of comfort the world cannot take away, some place maybe on the third floor.

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