Second Childhood

As a child he loved to watch cartoons

Scooby Doo, the Flintstones, and Bugs Bunny too

All of their antics were such a delight

He laughed and he giggled… oh, what a sight

*

This little boy grew up to be a man

A famous architect who could draw up a plan

His buildings were famous all over world

And his love for designs that were brazen and bold

*

He raised a family and had five children

Loved them dearly and wished for a dozen

As time went on he became a proud grandpa

To twelve little munchkins who loved their Pa Pa

*

From time to time he became forgetful

Couldn’t remember names always regretful

It soon became apparent it was his dementia

But the grandchildren didn’t care about Pa Pa’s absencia

*

Time finally came when he reverted back to childhood

With stories and tales of once being Robin Hood

But on Saturday morning with kids in the room

Now as a child he loves watching cartoons

Today at d’Verse Peter, asked us to write a circle poem that begins where it ends and ends where it begins. Last week I commented to my wife that when I grow old I am going to enjoy watching cartoons again! This led me to the poem I wrote today. All of us are affected in some way by people who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia. It often takes away present memories, leaving only memories of past days or childhood. So, as you see we come full circle in our life at times.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Photo: Dwight L. Roth – Taken on Rootle – PBS TV

Backspacing

How many of you remember using one of these?

*

Fated to live retracing steps taken

Backspacing becomes the norm

A brain one wire short of perfection

Requires backspacing to be the norm

In bygone days erasures quickly met metal

Pen and ink scratched out those shorts

Some keep asking // thinking I should learn

But for me backspacing is the norm

Distractions, only a second past, causes forgetfulness

A mind with a missing memory chip

Seems repetition should solve the problem

But with me backspacing is the norm

Reminders in multiples of ten are needed

Lamenting the need to repeat again and again

Brings no healing to a chipless brain

For me backspacing is the norm

Names go through my canals // beat the anvils

And pass right on through // unless

Piggy-backed on another file //stored there for awhile

It may seem like I don’t care // and sometimes I am not aware

Forgetfulness becomes my greatest flaw

When I am old // perhaps I’ll be excused

They’ll call it Alzheimer’s …and lock me away

Saying for him backspacing is all he ever does

*****

Stamp Art: Dwight L. Roth

Alzheimer’s Story for Children

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.

Where Have You Been?

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.

IMG_1529 (2)

Secrets of Aging

IMG_3062 (2)
     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.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Check out my e-books on Amazon Kindle on amazon.com…

https://www.amazon.com/Dwight-Roth/e/B017HW5AHG?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

 

Pieces of Life

Old model A rusting away - Marc Andrew

Age does disturbing things to some minds. Alzheimer’s disease leaves many feeling like their memories are only scattered pieces. Life no longer makes sense, as short-term memory disappears. Stress levels increase and shut down. Confinement can become necessary to protect the person from wandering off or putting themselves in harm’s way. Some still remember the distant past and days of childhood. Happy and traumatic events from the past get repeated over and over again. Questions to visitors are repeated over and over again as well. It is very sad to see a person deteriorate in this way.

Aging rusts the soul
Life scattered like lights and doors
Falling leaves hide rust
*

Photo: Marc Andrew

Losing Touch…

See the source image

This incident happened  several years ago when we were shopping at our Walmart. It is sad to see anyone loose touch with reality. But when you see someone in public who appears to be lost and disoriented, it is very sad.  I wrote this poem after seeing a man like this as we were checking out. It was a very emotional experience to see this.

Losing Touch …The Point of No Return

He was wondering across the checkout lanes
At the local Super Wal-Mart
With a look of concern on his face
As he looked across the carts
He was unaware of his condition.
His pants were soaked and soiled
His only concern was to find his wife…
And surely she would come through soon
As I watched him move from lane to lane
My heart went out to this man
Who seemed not to know the state he was in
But had only one plan
I asked him if I could be of help
He said he didn’t think so
She would be coming through very soon.
And he wandered on down the row
I went to find a manager
Who could help him find his wife
But when we returned he had vanished
He was nowhere in sight
I still think about the old man not much older than myself
And wonder if he found her
And what it must be like
Not to know who you are
I cried many tears as I recalled
The empty look, the lack of concern
Unaware of the condition he was in
And for the mind that had grown dim
I wonder if I too will reach
That point of no return
The place where my only concern will be
Just to find the one I love

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

Photo from Edge Images: cbsnews .com

Wandering/Wondering

IMG_7028

The transition from living on your own to living in an Alzheimer’s  care facility is a real paradigm shift. My father in law struggled greatly with the confusion of loss and change. When his wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to be placed in a care facility, it took longer for him to be placed. We took turns staying with him during that time. Not having his wife there with him and his onset of confusion created a lot of anxious moments for him. This is one example that occurred while I was sleeping in the living room.

Wandering/Wondering

“Oh, it’s you,” he said with a puzzled look

“I did not know you were here!”

This was the third time that night

“I just came out to make sure the door was locked.”

“When did you get here? ”

“We’ve been here for a week!”

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

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Mish asked us to write a Quadrille of only 44 words and use the word Puzzle as our prompt. Come join us at d’Verse~Poets Pub.

https://dversepoets.com

Lost

EER_0695

What happens when things grow foggy and you no longer know who you are? A few years ago we were in Wal-Mart when I noticed a man who seemed lost and confused. Not only that, but he was obviously not in control of himself. He kept wandering back and forth through the lines. It was so very sad to see this man who was so out of touch with reality. This is my account of that incident.

Losing Touch …The Point of No Return

He was wondering across the checkout lanes
At the local Super Walmart
With a look of concern on his face
As he looked across the carts

He was unaware of his condition.
His pants were soaked and soiled
His only concern was to find his wife…
And surely she would come through soon

As I watched him move from lane to lane
My heart went out to this man
Who seemed not to know the state he was in
But had only one plan

I asked him if I could be of help
He said he didn’t think so
She would be coming through very soon.
And he wandered on down the row

I went to find a manager
Who could help him find his wife
But when we returned he had vanished
He was nowhere in sight

I still think about the old man not much older than myself
And wonder if he found her
And what it must be like
Not to know who you are

I cried many tears as I recalled
The empty look, the lack of concern
Unaware of the condition he was in
And for the mind that had grown dim

I wonder if I too will reach
That point of no return
The place where my only concern will be
Just to find the one I love

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

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Some Endings…

EER_0509.JPG

Some endings seem to be more difficult than others…

Pulling on heartstrings trying to sew the broken

Crying tears of sorrow for a love turned cold

Graduation brings a mixed bag of joy and apprehension

Knowing challenges // struggles // and hard work lay in store

On the only path to their growth and success

Friend separation leaves empty space // but never in our heart

True friendship never ends// no matter how far they roam

Reunions always seem like it was only yesterday

 

But // losing a loved one is the most difficult of all endings

A child before parent // an unimaginable ending

A parent who passes early leaves a giant hole in one’s heart

Cruel dementia is very difficult to accept

Living on without memory is an ending none of us desire

Living till we die is what we all hope and pray for

Some endings are more difficult than others

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

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

While commenting on Robert Okaji’s post “Forgotten” I wrote the statement in the opening line of this poem. I decided to use it as today’s prompt. Check out his post:

Forgotten