Dad Turned 90 Today

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Dad is Ninety

Dad turned ninety today

Although he didn’t remember

Living in a world of memory loss

The short term completely gone

Living only in the moment

One experience at a time

Forgetting the past he presses on

To reach the finish line

Waiting now with serenity of heart

But not the same of mind

Barely getting up out of his chair

He rolls with his walker here and there

Unstable security allows him to move

A forgetful memory keeps him out of the groove

Proclaiming to us that he’s still in good health

Not realizing the creeping stealth of his situation

He says he is thankful he lasted this long

Hoping to see us on our next vacation

He still recognizes our faces

But names slip through the cracks

And when it’s time to go he’s sad we have to run

He forgets we were there each time we go

And exclaims each time we come in

His face brightens up as he says hello

Surprised over and over to see us again

But while we are there it’s a special time

To see everyone brings him joy

He has not lost his humor or wit

Still catches a funny joke we tell

And has a good chuckle at it

Some things in his brain are still working

He loves to have some fun

He enjoyed his party and all his friends

Until they had to run

About most things he asks

It must be quite confusing

To see us there and then we’re gone

The memory just won’t last

Living to a ripe old age sounds good

The goal of many I am sure

But for me it’s a journey I hope not to take

Let me go while I still remember

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

The Blessing of Now and Then

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Losing your mind may have an upside. For those with dementia or Alzheimer’s the gradual loss of memory seems like a sad thing. Being confined to a locked facility to us would seem like prison. But to an Alzheimer’s patient whose memory is failing, they may not worry about such things any longer. The fact that my father-in-law does not remember that his wife died may be more of a blessing than a curse. All they have is the now!  I believe it is our job to help make their now the best it can be. Living in the present and remembering the distant past is all some of them have left.

         The Blessing of Now and Then

Time creeps in and steals our yesterdays

Remembering the days of youth as clear as a bell

But yesterday crawls quickly into its shell

Recalled no more a cup too full

Footprints in the aging surf

Lost forever in its tide

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Memories dissolve into the present

Nothing else exists time is too short

Living now is all we have in the echo of the toll

Joy in the day people no longer hold us back

Every experience treasured in the receding tide

Feeling exhilarated not knowing why

Family and friend’s joy and sorrow let go without a thought

Immediately lost in the disappearing foot prints of time

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

 

Coals on the Hearth of Time

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Most of us know of someone who suffers from dementia. As we get older our minds sometime lose their short and long term memories. We got a first hand experience with this in 2013 when my father-in-law became debilitated from short term memory loss and had to enter a facility for Alzheimer’s patients. It is sad and difficult to watch this happen knowing there is no cure for it at this time. This poem reflects on memory loss and how it can affect us.

Coals on the Hearth of Time

Gone the fire once burning brightly

Life’s logs burned down to glowing embers

Slowly consumed white with age

Raging inferno of youth left behind

Dreams long lived slowly exit

Sifting out past memories

Coals of childhood smolder in the darkness

Warm glows grow dim on the hearth of time

Flickers are all that remain of a glowing life

Short bursts reappearing for a time

Flash paper memories

Lost in smoke of the dying embers

Clinkers from the past refuse to burn

“Where is Helen?”

Wondering why

Not remembering the question

Not knowing the answer

Repetitive memory now gone

Waiting Waiting Waiting

Remaining coals turn to ash

The fire dies