Diane's Nonverbal Dialogue, Upstate New York, 2007
by Samuel Black
Her dark skin looked brilliant, her mind probably in a different place and time; she seemed relaxed, and cared for without a worry of any kind. I was informed that she had been in the nursing home for a while, and visiting her would be wonderful before she leave this world for her heavenly home.
The nursing assistance met me at the door, "Welcome, we heard you were coming." She was very pleasant and walked me to the room. During the five-minute walk she explained what she thought I should know about Diana and how she had been getting along. "She has not received any visitors in a many weeks; not even a phone call about her health status." She stated.
As we entered the room I heard voices. There were two beds on the right side of the room. The one closest to the door was empty and Diana occupied the other bed, next to the window. The view of the sky, twinkling stars, and half moon was wonderful.
She was laying there while the television was on. Walker Texas Ranger was playing. The room was lightly lit and peaceful, except for the voices of the bad guys on television grunting in pain from Texas Ranger Walker's Taekwondo kicks. Diana was wearing an off-white hospital gown as she lay on her back facing the white ceiling. She appeared relaxed, and at peace with herself. This is kind of peace found in those who have been of great help to others in their lives. She had helped many who could not help themselves.
She was a champion for African-Americans who were in need. She stood up for justice, just like Rosa Parks sat down for justice allowing America to stand up, now Diane is unable to stand anymore. However, she is smiling internally because she has completed her job for humankind. Back in the day, she was wonderful. She wore a beautiful afro, dashiki, and high boots; she advocated power for the people and "Young, Gifted and Black." Many called her soul sister. Now they have forgotten about her soul; left in a nursing home alone.
A conversation initiated, "Hello Diana and how are you doing?" Diana only stared. Her brown eyes were smiling at the light. She blinked several times as if to say, "…how are you also."
"Do you remember me; I am your Cousin." Diana's eyes roamed around the room, as if thinking; then blinked again in a form of affirmation.
"I came from Milwaukee and brought you some flowers." She started to chew like a baby cutting its gums, and appeared excited by the fragrance from the roses.
"You looked lovely." Diana blinked her bright eyes again several times as if she wanted to say a word; however, she remained motionless and stared as if into space. She continued chewing as if something sweet was in her mouth. This reminds me of Jonathan's words in the book of Samuel regarding the taste of honey, the enlightening of the eyes, and how it relates to pleasure.
Diana had a stroke some time ago and was placed in the nursing home. She has been there for several months. She could not speak, and at times just her jaws moved. She was being fed through Intravenous (IV) Artificial Hydration since she could not eat. However, she was a peace within herself, which was obvious based on her relaxed state of reference. I moved over to the right side of the bed and softly touched Diana's silvery grayed hair; she gave a slight smile as her jaws moved and eyes blinked. One must believe that God's words is applicable to both male and female regarding the strength, wisdom, and beauty of a person's hair turning gray, as in Diane's case.
"It's nice to see you Diane; I just had to come by and visit with you."
Diane looked as a faint smile came across her face while continuing to move her jaws as if she were eating as she blinked again. Internally, I felt and knew that she was experiencing great joy. She never moved a muscle to turn her body toward me because she could not. It would have been a miracle if she had, one that everyone had hoped for since she became ill.
The time went by without notice as the conversation continued. "I will have to leave soon Diane because visiting hours will be over, and have to drive back before it gets too dark."
The drive was almost forty-five minutes from where I was staying to the nursing home. Since this was not an urban type area, many street lights were not installed, and there were toll booths and constant traffic to deal with. Occasionally, the nursing assistant would stop by and check the IV lines to make sure they were working correctly. She also gave a sign that visiting time was over.
"I have to leave now Diane visiting time is over. I will come back again to visit with you."
Diane continued to chew, looked at the ceiling, and blinked her eyes. Leaning over I whispered in her ears, "God bless you," then stroked her silvery gray hair a final time. I said a prayer for Diane while holding her hand. She seems so relaxed and winked her eyes several times with a faint smile.
I held her right hand and gave it a squeeze. Diane's hand was motionless as she continued to blink her eyes and chew. "Have a good night Diane."
On the way out the nursing assistant stated, "Diane must like you, because she was smiling when I stopped by and checked on her; normally she does not." I explained to her that I could hear Diane's voice through the blinking of her eyes and chewing. While in the army, I was a Morse code radio operator and tried to read the long and short blinks. We said good night and departed.
Like Diane, God always hears us, and He has many ways of communicating with us. He is always with those who have Him in their hearts. I sincerely believed that Diane has God in her heart. She was and still is a good shepherd to those who has knowledge of her accomplishments. She was a pioneer for her family, she held them in great esteem, and provided for them until she was hospitalized. With the little she had, she provided for many. Eventually, God will receive her into His glorious kingdom and shall provide for her likewise as her advocate.