Loss

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I am sure some of you have gone through cancer treatment at some point in your life. All of us know of friends or family who have been through this as well. It is my understanding that it is not a pleasant experience for anyone to go through. In many cases it does extend life for several years and more sometimes. This poem is for an extended family member who has gone through cancer treatment and is now doing well.  I wrote this at the time, but decided to wait to publish it.

“She lost her hair today;”
A sad message indeed.
We knew it was going to happen;
But reality makes it more intense.
Toxic mess dripping into her veins
Cuts hair off at the roots…
Lets it slid off in bunches in her hands.
It must be an awful blow to one’s self
A most humbling external loss.
Makes us realize what sacrifice it takes
  For her to go on living

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

I am posting this for Open link night at d’Verse Poets Pub. It was great to see some of you on the live meeting this afternoon. I am not sure why my microphone would not work. This is the poem I would have read. I will try a different laptop next time and see if that helps.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com then click the Mr. Linky box to read more poems.

Peaceful Resignation

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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

 

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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

 

Chew…?

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There was a time in our country’s history when farmers welcomed advertising on their barn as a way to get their barns painted.  The Mail Pouch advertisers painted the side facing the road with their logo. Sometimes they painted both the front and the end, depending on whether it could be seen from the road as people passed by. The rest of the barn was then painted to suit the farmer. They received $2 to $4 a year for the use of their barn. That would be $20 to $40 in today’s dollars. After the depression and during the war this was probably a great way for farmers to keep their barn in good condition. I took this photo on Rt. 21 between Masontown and Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

Mail Pouch on your barn

Summer paint job with great perks

Paint and Chew both deadly

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

 

Fly Away

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Independence Day (a Tanka)

Today I attended the funeral of a friend’s wife who died after an extended struggle with cancer. It was a heartfelt service with words and music well suited for the occasion. The celebration of her life and her love for her family, her church family, and God was evident through out the service. Sometimes freedom is the release from all that weighs us down in this life

Independence Day

Comes in different ways for some

Cancer gone // Soul free

No more pain or suffering

Spirit leaving body behind

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Photo: Dwight L.Roth

Frank Tassone Haikai challenge for this Saturday is to look at what Independence Day means. Some think of it only in relation to our country and the 4th of July. But independence day for others might include relief from abuse, as Martina McBride sang about. For others death is independence day. Those suffering from cancer or Alzheimer’s or other debilitating diseases find death as a release from physical constraints.  Freedom and Independence has many meanings.  Come join us:https://frankjtassone.com/2018/06/30/haikai-challenge-40-6-30-18-independence-haiku-senryu-haibun-tanka-haiga-renga/

 

 

 

 

Waiting…

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

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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/

 

 

Shadow of Death

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Shadow of Death
I will climb mountains with you
Celebrate birthdays and anniversaries too
Cry over the birth of our children…
And morn over the loss of our parents
But // am I willing to walk with you…
“Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death?”
*
I will struggle to make ends meet
Sacrifice myself so you can get ahead
Take the kids to ball games // cheer them on
And, kiss boo boos when knees are skinned
But // am I willing to walk with you…
“Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death?”
*
Can we survive the death of a child
When cancer takes its toll
Survive the blinding demons of depression
When you no longer want to live at all
Will I be willing to walk with you…*
“Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death?”

When we have faced financial loss
And all we worked for goes down the drain
When infidelity and insecurity plague our life
And forgiveness seems the last thing on the brain
Will you walk with me…
“Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death?”
*
Relationships are tough // not all fun and games
We are guaranteed to have heartaches and pain
But // if we choose to be committed //for the rest of our life…
“Till death do us part” // as husband and wife…
We will walk together… We will always be there…
“Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death!

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Photo of Stain Glass Window at Weddington United Methodist Church – Dwight L. Roth

 

 

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?”

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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/