The Long Weekend
Tuning In

One of the great things about Joe being Vernon’s roommate is that I he fills me in on some of the things that happen when I’m not around.  Whether he got a good night’s sleep or if Vernon woke Joe up at 4am for a chat. Whether the nurses fussed over him that morning or if he was left alone. I don’t stress about most of the details, but it’s nice to have someone filling me in. The best part is the funny stories that he tells me.

“He definitely gets a lot more stimulation,”  says Joe. “My friends are visiting all the time and Vernon likes to join in the conversation. People are getting to know him and he is starting to remember them sometimes.”

I wonder if its like some college dorm room in there.  If you saw the drawers of candy and snack food Joe has stashed in his dresser, you’d think so too. When the cats away, the mice will play. Joe told me a funny story about Vernon asking if he had “any friends on the outside.” When he answered yes,  Vernon asked if he thought they could bring them some beer. Joan, from down the hall, told Vernon she had never had a drop of beer in her life.  After Vernon got over his shock, he apparently kept saying to Joe: “We’ve got to get Joan a beer.”

He does get fixated on an idea these days.

Another time, after the others were allowed to go on an outing to a Knott’s Berry Farm restaurant, and they came back with leftover servings of boysenberry pie, Vernon asked for a bite. Of course they told him he wasn’t allowed, unless Lisa, the speech therapist okayed it.  Two hours later, according to Joe, Vernon said he was “still thinking about that pie.”

I don’t have a recent picture of Vernon with a beer or a pie, but here is one of Vernon and Justine having a drink together in  Oslo, three years ago. I always get a smile from it.


Oslo, Norway

As for notable conversations that happened while I was there with him today, I can offer this:

“Vernon, do you know who I am?” (He had his eyes closed tight as he often does. It’s much harder to connect with him when his eyes are closed as he is more likely to be in what I think of as a dream state.)


“What does your wife look like?”

“She has dark hair. Looks a little like you.”

“How did you and your wife meet?”

“We met at a party.”

“And then what?”

“We fell in love and decided to get married.”

“Did you have a good marriage?”


“Do you know where she is now?”

“No. She used to visit me, but she doesn’t anymore.”

“Really? What about the kids?”

“No. None of them visit me.”

“Please open your eyes, Vernon. Look at me.”

(He slowly opens them.)

“I’M your wife. I’m right here.”

(He gets slightly misty as he reaches for my hand.)

“Oh…I haven’t lost you after all.”


(Taken many years ago by Acacia Bergen. One of my all-time favorites.)








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The Long Weekend
Tuning In