“Look, Mom,” my son exclaimed, pointing to the yellow sheet of paper tacked to the wall. “Eight people died last month. Eight!”
We were waiting for the elevator, and sure enough, the notice of memoriam confirmed that eight residents had died in February, including two on Valentine’s Day.
“That’s a lot,” Eli said with a solemn nod. The elevator door opened and as soon as we got in he began dancing to a Michael Jackson tune he was humming out loud.
A minute later, he was skipping down the third-floor hallway, past the cafeteria worker with a dolly full of dinner trays, past a waving orderly, past a scrum of residents watching “Jeopardy!” in wheelchairs.
By the time I made it to my mother-in-law’s room, Eli was already there, asking his “Yaya” (Doris to everyone else) if she wanted to go out to the courtyard or downstairs where he could play the piano for her.
This was no doubt the highlight of Doris’ day, and the same was probably true for Eli. But while his devotion to his grandma thrills me, I admit to feeling the occasional qualm. Is so much exposure to aging and dying good for an 8-year-old boy?