Our lives together somehow went askew, and only your smile remained part of you …


 I am no poet but this is what I once jotted down one night when thoughts of Alzheimer’s stopped me from falling asleep.

Your voice is stilled, your smile has gone

Memories comfort me and linger on.

Knowing you was a gift, a treasure

Loving you gave me much pleasure.

Implausible that the people you knew

Had become like absolute strangers to you.

You managed to play a fair game of bridge

Yet sometimes stacked crockery in the fridge.

I searched for signs of the man I once knew

So sad it was, as there were precious few.

Living day to day with your dementia

Felt like being married to you in absentia.

Our lives together went askew

And only your smile remained part of you.

The daily sharing in active living

Very soon evolved into daily care-giving.

The agenda you once had was long gone

And hours of inactivity stretched on and on …

There were many times when things were normal

Your behavior acceptable, and even formal.

And it seemed to me that in some strange way

Your mind was working like in the old days.

As a care-giver I did my very best

Whatever I could to pass this hard test

I used lots of patience and dedication

Even while in the midst of frustration

My dear, you knew that something was wrong

As you languished through days puzzling and long.

There was heartbreak in your plaintive plea

When you asked repeatedly; “What’s happened to me?”

Oddly it seemed that in some strange way

You were working on projects from former days.

Disconnected thoughts came out in conversation

Defying any attempt at clarification.

Stamps, coins and books once occupied you for hours.

You derived pleasure from music, plays and flowers.

Having  no agenda, there was no way

To project any interest for the following day.

You didn’t deserve Alzheimer’s in your life

You helped so many others in times of strife.

“Why our Dad?” the children and grandchildren asked.

But, to reply to that was an impossible task.

Physicians described dementia to the letter

But living beside it describes it better.

A support group was helpful, people were kind

They all knew what happened to your mind.

Love and patience were the two ingredients that worked best in this situation and, taking one day at a time.

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This entry was posted in Alzheimer's on by .

About Jill

Author of books and articles on support and experiences of living with a mentally ill family member. My aim in blogging is to let others see how a loving family, with a father and husband who is able to give unconditional love, can help the family cope. Many call me the blogging grandma.'

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