Mom has been living in an Alzheimer's care facility for the past three years. My sisters and I juggled her care for nearly a decade prior to making the difficult decision that her growing needs were outweighing our best-intentioned capabilities. I'm watching her slow and steady decline as this gut-wrenching disease continues to consume more and more of who she is. I struggle making the 75+ minute drive to visit her as I witness that my being there has very little impact on her anymore, yet it impacts me greatly.
Like many women of her generation she was a stay at home mom. But Mom wrote poetry. Prolifically. I have six volumes of her self-published work. Whenever I am feeling the deep pangs of losing her while she is still physically present, I pull out one of her books to remember. This morning the first page I turned to contained a poem which I'm sure was written about her volatile relationship with my father. I've gotten to understand my mother as a person through her own words. And they bring me back to who she was before the disease. Mom no longer recognizes her own written words. I brought one of her books with me on my last visit. She doesn't remember being a writer. But I remember...
Flung thru a lowered window,
A voice made flat and colorless
by the effort to control it.
Drooped shoulders and bowed head.
Then, the quick shudder-
as from the sting of a lash.
Pools of pain; glistening quickly,
brightly. Strength ebbing with
their sudden falling.
A desperate effort and achieved firmness.
Hurt nearly hidden
by the thoughtful directions.
Love- wordless but understanding.
The only balm for your wrenched
and sobbing heart.
*images are my own and from bing.com