Alzheimers the hidden treasure #caregivers #alzheimers #haibun

More than forty years ago,I took care of my first Alzheimer’s patient. Back then we called a patient confused. The trade marks were the same: little by little the mind ebbs and the memory recedes.

I have learned much as I have looked through the window of an elderly person’s life. There is a store house of information, experience, history that is so close. My challenge as a caregiver is to find the key that unlocks the treasure chest.

By the time I enter a client’s life, they have “lost” quite a bit of memory. But there is always some treasure if I am patient. “Patient” is the operative word – I cannot have an agenda, be pushy or in a big hurry.

Mary loves children and she most often sets the tone for the conversation. Her years of experience as a school teacher are like gold for me as my other life is teaching African children. It is a joy to hear children in the background of her life.

Today- I grasped at another treasure – we look good in the same colors. She chose several outfits that would look good on either of us. Last week we had a pillow fight and got into a fit of laughter. She asked me a puzzle of a question; I asked her one in return.

Each day we find what we can do not what we can’t do and it works.

I am not inferring that caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is easy – It is Not! As the wave recedes, I am sorrowful for the yesterdays that are lost. But my hand is going to clasp hers and be grateful that there are more days filled with treasure if I am ready to hunt for it.

Tide is fading

wind thrashes each memory

deep blue sea

 

 

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Time Passage #poetry

wright bro memorial
Wright Brother Memorial

I stood on the edge of the universe

stars within my grasp

reach for them I did

I never thought to ask

nudging my fingertips

a velvety lamb’s ear

in an old forgotten grotto

nature knows she is here

In the expanse of a gallery

the paint is still fresh

though the paintings are old

where I had my first test

hand-picked stone lined path

each flower has a name

crunch of  gravel so familiar

tho I am no longer the same

This place harkens to her footsteps

welcomes me anew

tho time has passed

memories like morning dew

I was taught from before I was able to talk the value of the elderly, the importance of honor, and the lessons I could learn if I listened closely. I am sad for a generation that places so little value for those past a certain age. Because of this attitude, there are lessons unlearned/ history unheard.

There is more reality than metaphor in this poem and a gratitude beyond expression that I hold for those who taught me to reach for the stars.

I’m also sharing a link to rewrite of a fictionalized story of an elderly patient – here

The prompt from Poets United Midweek Motif – “Choose an Elder to honor in a poem…”

Beneath the Tree #3 #elderly #Christmas #poetry

elderly woman

Sitting in a chair

watching the door for days

turkey smells are old

something in her memory plays

closets all are opened

every ornament has a place

this big house is empty

ghosts in too many a space

Sitting in a chair

she ticks the number of gifts

her grandchildren are grown

more often she forgets

eggnog fills the frig

the doctor doesn’t need to know

one person who likes fruitcake

welcomes flurries of snow

Sitting in a chair

my children come over to bake

bringing Christmas cheer

tho family will arrive very late

no matter how much money he left

he couldn’t promise her a wreath

their children have their lives

big house brings lonely grief

on Christmas Eve we hope

the family will arrive

we done our best with festive

and their mother’s still alive

beneath the tree

I spent so many years carrying for the elderly and one thing is consistent: they wait looking at the door like a forlorn dog. Some family shows up (eventually) others send a card or plant in their stead. There are edges to Christmas that are sad and lonely.  If you have the ability to spill a little light into another’s holiday – Please Do!!!

Beneath the Tree #2

Beneath the Tree #1

 

Look what you can get at the thrift store! #flashfiction

the_second_hand_shop-1

“Hello, Hello in there?

My friend Eddie said he got a new head of hair here.

I can live without hair, I have a hat. The thing is well things haven’t  been working that well since Maude died.

Sure they have implants and pills, but what you offer is kinda like a second-hand version of the fountain of youth.

I can pay the price.

I know the drill: Dance with the pretty girl, light the candles, ring the bell, take a swig of this 100 year old stuff…  Uggh

Just so you know I checked the calendar – it’s not April 1st!”

****

Today the Fictioneers are going on a romp to a thrift store led by Rochelle. I’m sure we will find all sorts of goodies.

The Specter of Old Age #poem #photography #elderly

Decay
The invisible specter
a master of fate
stealing vitality
weakness is the new state
**
clouds of  gray creep in
altering a once comely face
 the mirror an enemy
unrecognizable left in its place
**
 
the crafty meddler of the mind
spoils often the richest chest
scattering knowledge to the breeze
putting memories to the test
**
The specter takes everything
frailty and uncertainty remain
bent, gaunt, colorless, shell
a shadow is cast over nothing
 
I revived this piece from one of the original poems I posted on this blog. I wrote this while working as a private duty nurse for a dear lady of 90. I loved the bits and pieces of the word that I got to see in spite of the Alzheimer’s.  Alzheimer’s is devastating for the elderly and their families – one reason I cherish each moment I have with aging family members. Hug a family member today ~ just because…
 
This poem is selected to share with a wonderful and lively group of poets at Poet’s United. The Poetry Pantry give a weekly opportunity to share a poem you have written – join the fun!

Hidden in the Garden #flashfiction

There they were peeking out from under the green foliage

red against the green so distinct

a little worn but they reminded me of my youth ( laying things here and there)

then your smile joined mine for a moment

your white hair and wrinkles were no disguise for the young heart hidden in the garden

Once again ~ Flash Fiction in 55 words – always a challenge no kinder host will you find in G-Man!

 

For those of you who regularly visit my site please forgive me for being remiss on my blogsite. I am the throws of publishing and along with that am part of the Kindle Book Review team oh and am gathering speed for my thesis so I am swamped to say the least….

Thanks to Rachel Cowen for the photo of the Red Slippers http://www.flickr.com/photos/curlsdiva/6115881833/

If You Leave Me Now… #flashfiction

We had been listening to oldies on our favorite radio station

I caught the glisten in his eyes and heard “I love you honey thanks…”

A long time ago I had almost left

He’d begged for another chance

he stopped drinking and became a totally different man

Earlier this week in the news: An elderly couple died in a final embrace this week after they had been in a fatal car accident.

Thanks to G-Man for the weekly challenge to write a story in 55 words.

they felt the impact but didnt see it