Brad, an oldies expert, stood close by and sang along to the songs. At one point, Joanna popped her head out of her bedroom door and said, “What happened out here anyway?” We had a good laugh, and I explained that I was painting a mural—an apple tree that we would call our “Family of Friends Tree”. I told Joanna that the purpose of the apples would be to represent the people in our lives who had made their exit. Joanna smiled, nodded and said, “How nice! Good for you!”
Rosemarie helped me pick out the frames for each person from among several that Michelle, a former resident’s daughter, had donated specifically for the tree. After thoughtfully looking at the pictures, Rosemarie surprised me by saying, “Boy, they all had such beautiful white hair.”
And they did! Katie looked at the photos in the tiny frames and said, “They look so sweet—like three little dolls.”
After the tree had been painted, I was in Bettye’s room for our regular “Manicure Monday” date. As I filed and polished Bettye’s nails she said, “The tree you painted in the hallway is so beautiful. What a wonderful way to remember the people who have passed away. I enjoyed watching you progress as you painted it. It’s such a joy to watch you live.”
The whole experience was so sweet and healing for me. Every time I walk by the mural, I look at the smiling faces in the golden frames hanging on the apples and have such peace in my heart.