Jane is up on the second floor, where folks are most challenged in their ability to communicate their needs. Jane also has a special friend, a small stuffed raccoon that she carries around. Yesterday, I stopped by and commented that this must be quite a special baby. "Yes, it is", she said, and caressed it with much feeling.
Real babies and children long gone, husband dead, friends scattered in various homes, other residents lost in their own world, the opportunities for Jane to love are scarce. Never mind, ever resourceful human spirit manages to get its needs met.
"You love him very much, don't you?" Jane turns to me and gazes at me deeply with her blue eyes and empathetically responds. "Yes, I do." and strokes her baby some more. Together we marvel at its sweet face. Does it have a name, I wonder? No, baby does not have a name, but Jane points to its glass eyes and black nose. She then puts him in its black pouch, and asks if I want to hold it for a while. Very touched to be entrusted with such a precious bundle, I thank her.
"I love you", she tells me.
The need to love never goes away.