Today a lone monarch visited my flowers, sucking out the last drops of nectar. I was excited to see it, since I didn’t see any all summer. The Yellow and Black Swallowtails were here, but no Monarchs. I got my camera and snapped away, as it enjoyed what is left of my Zinnias.
Summer has finally come to an end, and a lot of my flowers grew fungus and mildew on their leaves. The leaves deteriorated and dried up starting at the bottom and going up. But, with a couple of late summer rains, and a little watering from my rain barrels, my Zinnias continue to grow. I also have been cutting off seed heads as the flowers petals fall off. This stimulates them to keep putting out new buds. Although the bottom half of the stem looks dead the top continues to bloom. Some have now reached a height of almost eight feet! I see beauty in the flowers and also in the drying stems and leaves. It reminded me of the stages of life we all go through and that beauty can always be found even as we age and come to the end of life.
Summer temperatures in the 90s F have kept us inside. Covid-19 all around us has taken the lives of thousands. Being in the high risk age group it does make me wonder how all this will play out. So far we have been in good health, but we realize that could change rather quickly. We go on with our life taking precautions, wearing masks, and using common sense.
If I should find this my last day Looking back on my work and play Life is the place where joy and sorrow meet A roller coaster ride of ups and downs.
Struggles, pain, and joys abound
Making me stronger // standing my ground;
Becoming the man who bears my name.
The image of my creator reflected in my face;
Not perfect // but full of love and amazing grace…
A shadow of the divine embracing a much better place.
Life goes on be it here or there…
In our children // in their children
His face is everywhere;
Reflections of love immeasurable power…
Strength for today and hope for each hour
Passing on down through the thread of life
So fragile // so dear // so full of strife
If this were to be my last day,
With sorrow’s leaving I would surely say,
“I’m not gone I’m here to stay!”
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
Today at d’Verse, we were asked to write a poem written with the first person “I am” included in it. This is a poem about ourselves. This poem looks a life from my aging perspective, realizing that even though I may pass on, my life goes on. We are created in the image of our creator and that is in our DNA. It gets passed on from me to my children and grandchildren. So in that perspective life goes on.
In an everchanging world, I find myself struggling with the way in which things are moving! Life goes on whether I want to come along or not. As I watch the struggles of social groups and see the injustice that has long plagued our country’s history, I wonder where we are headed. History like politics has very dark times. We can embrace it, be offended by it, or attempt to deny it, but it will always be there. As the next generation comes on, I hope they learn from history instead of repeating it. I pray that we can all learn to live with each other, allowing for our differences in values and beliefs without feeling like we need to impose ours upon everyone around us. Uniqueness has always been our strength!
Sometimes I feel like the bottom leaf of a plant
Birthed from seed // providing sustenance for a time;
Now eclipsed by more recent growth rising above…
Providing new solar sources to feed from…
Obsolete // no longer making that much difference.
Never meant to shine or blossom // I’ve done my job…
Supporting // nurturing new growth and change;
Yet, now that life has grown beyond me,
I am here // drying up at the bottom of the stalk
while growth and reproduction of values and thought
happens above me // in a world very different from mine.
When I was young the world was small
A circle of family and friends // was all
As my world expanded my eyes were opened
To a much bigger world // harsh, cruel, and broken
Full of people who use you for personal gain
Not so concerned about your personal pain
Success and survival brought joy and heartaches
And part-time friends who left in the home stretch
Through years filled with life’s interactions
Family and friends brought more satisfaction
And into a small small world I withdrew
Valuing people who cared and really knew
The importance of family // the joy of dear friends
A wonderful bond that never ends
My father-in-law began to show symptoms of Alzheimer’s back in 2009. In 2012 he had to live in a care facility. It was very sad to see someone decline into dementia and lose touch with reality. He died in 2018 at the age of 89.
I began to look for books on line that children could relate to that talked about Alzheimer’s disease. There were very few if any and none for younger children. I decided to write and illustrate a children’s book that would introduce children to dementia and the way it affects older people.
If you are interested please click the link and check it out on amazon.com kindle books. My granddaughter helped me with the color in the illustrations. If you have a kindle subscription you can read it for free.
Tanka enjoys a long history in Japan. Originally known as waka (short song), the 5-line verse poem was the medium of literary exchange during the Heian era, the golden age of ancient Japanese culture. Courtiers and emperors alike composed them. Lovers would often share their devotion through the exchange of them.
The second stanza of the poem above reflects the true intent of the tanka.
My father-in-law. who had Alzheimer’s, was confined several years ago after his wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This all took place within a month and a half. Initially we took him to visit her in her care facility across the city; but. he forgot he saw her by the time he got back to his residence.
It was very difficult for him that first year and after she passed away. When we went to visit we found notes written on his dinner napkins asking where she was and why she did not come back. It was heartbreaking to read his pleas for answers. Although we explained everything to him it was not long till he again asked the same questions. The note writing stopped after about a year. He seemed to be resigned that he was there by himself and only asked about her on occasion. He was there for five years and died in 2018.
In the winter of life the fog sets in
obscuring the obvious and familiar
Leaving one to memories past;
today’s events already forgotten.
A perspective very different
from yours and mine;
Time stands still …
like looking in a mirror to the past;
Closing the windows of the present.
Anxieties not understood
plague the mind and thoughts.
Looking for a spouse long gone;
Expecting to see her any moment;
Wondering where she is
and when she will return.
Distraught to the point of resignation
the fog becomes more intense.
Time slows down as the hour glass trickles
until finally // the top glass is empty.
This beautifully haunting song by Kathy Mattea helps bring the sadness of this disease into perspective.
Aging carries with it secrets many are reluctant to tell. When one spouse begins experiencing dementia, the other often compensates by keeping it a secret as long as possible.
We saw this with my father-in-law a number of years ago. As he began to be confused at times, she would write the directions or an address on an index card for him to carry along, in case he forgot.
In one instant he came from volunteering at the local hospital and could not remember where he had parked his car. It took him two hours and some help from the staff to find it.
In time the secrets of dementia reveal themselves. At that point hard family decisions have to be made regarding the future.
Secrets of aging
Will always reveal themselves
Winter closes in…
Today at d’Verse, Merril asked us to think about secrets. They come in many forms, but none so sad as when we age. These are secrets we ususally can’t keep.