The Day The Royal Manor Nursing Home Went Quiet:  Total Eclipse Missoula Montana February 1979

The Day The Royal Manor Nursing Home Went Quiet: Total Eclipse Missoula Montana February 1979

Let’s rewind the clocks to February 1979. Picture this: bell-bottoms were in, disco was all the rage, and I was rocking the nurse's cap at Royal Manor, a cozy little nursing home in Missoula, Montana. Then came the day when the moon decided to play hide and seek with the sun, casting a spell of tranquility over our little corner of the world. This isn’t just any story; it’s the story of how an eclipse turned a nursing home into a scene straight out of a sci-fi movie.


Eclipse Eve: The Calm Before the Calm

Getting Ready for the Cosmic Ballet

The day before the eclipse, Royal Manor was abuzz with excitement.  We had a few contingency plans for

  • what if the power goes out?
  • what if the phone won't work?
  • what if our patients were frightened?

We decided to not take anyone outside to observe, worried that some of the patients would look at the sun.  I don't recall that we had eclipse glasses available back then, at least I didn't have any.  For our residents with dementia, we wanted to make this experience as smooth as peanut butter.

The Big Quiet

When Day Became Night and Silence Spoke Volumes

As D-day (or should I say E-day?) arrived and the eclipse began its magic, something extraordinary happened. Our usually lively home went still. The residents, especially those with dementia, paused. No more call lights blinking. No more wandering or chit-chat. Just a collective stillness, as if nature’s remote had hit the pause button on our daily hustle.

A Peaceful Easy Feeling

The quiet was surreal. Picture it: a bustling nursing home suddenly wrapped in a blanket of peace, with everyone in a state of awe. It was like we were all part of a silent movie, watching the world change colors before our eyes.  My staff were gathered in the main living room, ready to help where ever needed.  "Ok, this is spooky" one of the nurses aides said, we all nodded in agreement.

Behind the Magic: The Eclipse Effect

A Little Bit of Science, A Lot of Wonder

You might wonder, "What's the big deal with an eclipse?" Well, turns out, these celestial events can mess with our vibes, in a good way. For our friends with dementia, the change in light and atmosphere seemed to bring a moment of calmness, a break from their usual restlessness.

Nature’s Therapy

This experience was a lesson in the power of nature’s simplicity. It showed us that sometimes, the best medicine doesn’t come from a bottle but from experiencing the world around us in its most majestic forms.

The After-Eclipse Glow

Chatting About the Celestial Show

After the moon had its moment and daylight returned, Royal Manor slowly buzzed back to life. But something had changed. We all shared this collective experience that was both humbling and beautiful. It was the talk of the town, or at least, our little nursing home.  The call bells began their usual ding ding engaging the staff to come to help, or answer questions.  There was excited chatter in the living room, and my patient rounds were filled with exclamations of wonder from the residents.

Reflections from the Heart

For me, this wasn’t just an astronomical event; it was a heartwarming reminder of our connection to the natural world and to each other. It made me realize that in healthcare, sometimes the best approach is to simply let the world do its thing.

Lessons from the Cosmos

Nature’s Role in Our Lives and Health

The eclipse taught us that nature has a profound impact on our wellbeing. It’s a reminder to look up (just not directly at the sun) from our routines and witness the wonders around us, because you never know when the next moment of unexpected tranquility will come.

So, there you have it—the day when Royal Manor and its residents shared a moment of cosmic calm. It’s a story I hold dear, a reminder that sometimes, the most extraordinary experiences come from the simplest of moments. And who knew? The moon, the sun, and a little shadow could teach us so much about peace, tranquility, and the magic of just being.

Take care,


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