Alzheimers’ Life

I deal with grief right now – in a real way.
People talk to me now about death – in a real way.
This conversation reflects gritty understanding that living on without your loved one cannot be assumed as “easy” in any way.

One of my “followers” on this blog is dealing with a parent who is suffering from alzheimers.  My dad died from this disease in 1990. He and I became familiar strangers over a period of years and  I drafted a poem the Thanksgiving before his death on December 22, 1990 during a somber period of heartbreak.

This poem was later published in the Alzheimers Society Newsletter.

 Alzheimers’ Lament

 Could it be, that is you
So thin a shape,
Sitting tied to a chair,
Bare feet on the floor,
Gown to your waist,
Diaper showing?

Is it the blankness of your stare,
Your gaping mouth empty of teeth,
Hands feeling seamlines,
Whiskers stabbing,
Dry skin scaling,
That makes me wonder?

There are no questions forthcoming,
No jokes laughed away,
No conversation,
Now only silent presence between us.
Love is between us.
No sharing now – – – only people in a room – – –
With love.

Piece by piece the life flows
Back to the place from which it came
Eighty years ago.
But – – – oh – – -the aching,
To see such a light fade to nothing.
So slowly it goes, almost unseen,
Until, all added together, nothing is left
And the light will be out.

Remember – – -I must.
In my heart, the light remains,
The man is strong, smiling, laughing, talking,
His strength protects me as a father’s should,
And I am loved once again.

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