Take Her Hand

She wakes to gray.
No words to guide the way
toward son. His unfamiliar face seems kind
enough. She nods hello. Just yesterday
she knew his eyes, but now?

This morning’s mind
welcomes the past but not the day. She was
someone: woman who woke at 3:00 to sing
her restless son to sleep, his calm her cause
for celebration. Today the dawn brings

no clarity, yet still the stranger comes
and draws her curtains wide. She thinks outside
is where she left her life: daughters, a son
who meet sunrise without her. Look, the light

is brighter now. The kind man helps her stand.
To see the morning sun, she takes his hand.
~Marjorie Maddox “Alzheimer Aubade”

Lying still, your mouth gapes open as
I wonder if you breathe your last.
Your hair a white cloud
Your skin baby soft
No washing, digging, planting gardens
Or raising children
Anymore.

Where do your dreams take you?
At times you wake in your childhood home of
Rolling wheat fields, boundless days of freedom.
Other naps take you to your student and teaching days
Grammar and drama, speech and essays.
Yesterday you were a young mother again
Juggling babies, farm and your wistful dreams.

Today you looked about your empty nest
Disguised as hospital bed,
Wondering aloud about
Children grown, flown.
You still control through worry
and tell me:
Travel safely
Get a good night’s sleep
Take time to eat
Call me when you get there

I dress you as you dressed me
I clean you as you cleaned me
I love you as you loved me
You try my patience as I tried yours.
I wonder if I have the strength to
Mother my mother
For as long as she needs.

When I tell you the truth
Your brow furrows as it used to do
When I disappointed you~
This cannot be
A bed in a room in a sterile place
Waiting for death
Waiting for heaven
Waiting

And I tell you:
Travel safely
Eat, please eat
Sleep well
Call me when you get there.

4 thoughts on “Take Her Hand

  1. So sad. But truth. Hard to see in old friends and family members and harder yet to accept for ourselves if God chooses to allow it. Thank you, Emily.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So true.
    My father thinks he may be coming to his end.
    Sadly, I am not allowed to do what a loved one wants to do for their loved one in their last year, month, or day.
    More and more are dying alone. So sad.
    So very sad.
    A friend of a friend lost her daughter and granddaughter in a fire this weekend.
    The news just shouts death and dying and sadness day after day.
    Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel your sorrow, Emily. My sister, 87 years old, was just put in a memory care home. She doesn’t know her family any more. It’s especially hard on families due to the pandemic. God bless the caregivers!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My Sweet Jesus and His Mother Mary:

    I am reading this post today, dear Emily, blinded by sudden tears that I cannot stop.
    I can see, hear, relate to and attempt to understand the reality of the aching sadness, the agony, that you and all persons who have felt, continue to feel —
    through the acknowledged blessing of the Holy Spirit within.
    The only consolation, comfort that I can bring to my understanding for all who suffer from this theft of one’s life existence and precious memories –
    and to their loved ones and friends who hover close by as they witness the painful mystery they are witnessing is that:

    HE IS THERE – HE IS ALWAYS THERE WITHIN EACH PERSON.
    HE KNOWS AND COMFORTS EACH PERSON — NOT ONLY THROUGH THEIR ENTIRE LIFE, BUT ESPECIALLY TOWARDS THE END OF
    ONE’S FEAR AND SUFFERING — AND LOSS OF MEMORY — THAT LEAVES THEM FEELING ALONE, STRANDED, TO FACE THE INEVITIBLE FINAL
    PHASE OF DARKNESS AND UNKNOWING TO WHAT THEY BELIEVE AND TRUST WILL BE HIS INCREDIBLE PROMISED PEACE AND FREEDOM
    THAT ONLY HE CAN PROVIDE AS WE END OUR TEMPORARY EARTHLY JOURNEY.

    Liked by 1 person

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