A Living History

This is not a painting

It is a living family history

Not just an abstract splash of color

But, a life’s journey

A story that began a lifetime ago

Moving 2500 miles to Alberta

Building a little house in the big woods

Raising his family near a Cree Indian village

By the shores of Calling Lake

*

This is a story of mid-life change

to the big city of Edmonton

Becoming a respiratory therapist

A new career of serving others

Retiring to a condo

*

Memory fading to dim

More than Mother can care for

Her brain tumor required attention

Care needed for both

*

End of like can be full of surprises

This is not a painting

It is our family’s story

Painting: Dwight L. Roth 1-2013

Today at d’Verse, Mish asked us to choose an object, that means something special to us, and write a poem beginning with the line… “This is not a _________” Eight years ago we flew to Edmonton, AB to make care arrangements for both of my wife’s parents. Her mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and her father was suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was a traumatic time for all of us. When we finally returned home the end of January, I poured my emotions into this painting depicting their life in Alberta. To me, this is much more than a painting. It is a piece of family history!

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com …click on Mr. Linkey and read more poems.

Our Last Christmas Together

IMG_7042 (2)

Back in 2012, we celebrated our last Christmas with my wife’s mother. She had just been diagnosed with and inoperable brain tumor. It was a time of very deep and mixed emotions. Her father was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and in January of 2013 had to be placed in a care facility as well. As I look at this photo, I see that Mother has resigned herself to what is to come and greatly enjoyed our last Christmas together. On the other hand Dad was filled with anxiety at the anticipation of being left alone without his wife to care for him.  You can see that his smile did not hold the same resignation as Mother’s. The adjustments of aging and loss are much deeper than any of us can imagine. As we complete our fiftieth year together, I often reflect on that Christmas, and on what is still to come.
Enjoying Christmas
Knowing everything will change
Winter’s mixed feelings

****

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Also posted of Frank Tassone’s Haikai challenge…

#Haikai Challenge #118 (12/21/19): Christmas/Hanukkah #haiku #senryu #haibun #tanka #haiga #renga

 

Peaceful Resignation

IMG_7042

The week after Thanksgiving in 2012 we received news that my wife’s mother was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She was 86 years old and after consulting with the family, made the decision not to pursue extended treatments. The doctors said she would probably not live more than a month or two. She lived until August of 2013.
Waiting in real time for what we all know is going to happen is not always easy. She made the most of her time left, celebrating Christmas with us at the care facility she moved into. Her attitude was one of peaceful resignation all the way through. Her nurses loved her and took very good care of her. She said that she had lived a full life and was ready to go.

Her time had now come
Peaceful resignation her choice
Snow falls// silent night

 

IMG_7032

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Imelda, our guest host at d’Verse, asked us to write a Haibun that talks about waiting.  I am sharing a very personal time of waiting that happened to us a few years ago.

Come join us at:  https://dversepoets.com

 

Waiting…

IMG_3056

Waiting to Die 

Becoming obsolete is one of life’s most difficult burdens

It is not something that comes on quickly

But rather happens over a few years

When things once held dear are no longer valued by the next generation

It raises a turmoil of the soul that at first kicks and screams

But gradually subsides into a churning rumble

Only to be followed by a great dull ache

Becoming physically challenged only adds to the burden

Our bodies slow down // wear out // won’t co-operate // get repaired

Bounce back at times // only to slowly head back down the slippery slope of time

That waits for no one // but seems to careen wildly toward the cliff

This too raises the turmoil of the soul //that at first kicks and screams

But gradually subsides into that churning rumble

Only to be followed by a great dull ache// and a swell of physical pain

IMG_3055

Becoming physically and/or mentally disabled increases the burden even more

When one can no longer care for himself

Or has the strength to move about

Losing the memory to recall life’s joys and sorrows

Or that unwanted friend and companion, arthritis, moves in and out

One begins to wonder why he continues to go on living

Now it’s just a long dull ache // for the inner kicking and screaming now subsides

Becoming totally dependent //sometimes unable to speak or function

Is probably the biggest burden of all.

Long hours of little change of position or surroundings 

Struggling for life with each difficult breath

Simply sitting or lying, waiting day after day

For the edge of the cliff to appear

Must make one wonder why some leave this world like the drop of a hat

While others continue on and on simply waiting to die

* 

But what of heaven and the future life to come

Surely that should make it all better

Surely that should ease the pain of separation and loss

IMG_3053.jpg

When all you know is the life you are living // and the pain you are feeling

It is difficult to focus on what will come

In the present suffering one may understand what lies in store

But only feels the last pains of separation

From this earthly body into an immortal one

Safe in the arms of God

 

IMG_3056.jpg

Photos of Mother’s Flowers: Dwight L. Roth

My mother-in-law loved raising flowers. She had a green thumb as you can see. She died of a brain tumor in 2013. I wrote this poem while we were waiting at the end.

Today is open link night at d’Verse. Come join us and post a poem of your own choice.

https://dversepoets.com/

 

 

Fading Shades of Gray

Mother and Dad

Fading Shades of Gray  (a Hai bun)

Watching my father-in-law’s mind fade from shades of gray to black evoked a lot of emotion.  It became noticeable to my wife and me when we visited her parents in 2009. Driving us across Edmonton to the Science Center, he got mixed up and forgot how to get there. Apparently this happened before, because Mother had written the directions for him on index cards. Later she told us that one day he came out to the parking deck, after volunteering at the hospital and could not find his car. She kept tabs on him until 2012 when she developed a brain tumor.

Giving up his keys and driving privileges it was very hard on him, but the hardest thing for him to understand was when they were in separate care facilities. He would ask about her over and over, and could not quite comprehend what was happening. After she died, he kept expecting her to return. He is now 90 and seems to have adjusted to his confinement, even telling friends who visit that they should try to get a room there as well. He tells them that they take good care of him there.

Winter brain cells fade

Short term mem’ry turns to black

“Helen, Where are you?”

***************************************************

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Bjorn, at d’Verse~Poetry Pub asked us to write a Hai bun using the word gray. I chose to write on the graying effects of Alzheimer’s on the brain.

Visit us at: https://dversepoets.com/