Remembering a Life Well Lived

Paul White

Life passes so quickly from young to old

With all of its ups and downs

A mother lost //a stepmother gained

One never forgets that pain

A life of giving // hard work // and faith

Raising a family // with love and grace

Changing occupations at midlife’s crossroad

Back to school //  then life down a new road

Deep faith in God sustained him through

heartaches and struggle no one ever knew

As life’s end drew near // with dementia and separation

He still kept his humor right up until the very end

After 91 years of a life filled with service

His spirit passed on and we will rejoice

“A life well lived” was not just a cliché

And he wouldn’t have had it any other way

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In loving Memory of

Paul H. White

4-29-1927 – 8-2-2018

Tomorrow we celebrate the 89 years of my father-in-law’s life with friends and family. His sister flew in from London and his brother from Ohio. Children and grandchildren arrived here in Edmonton where we all gathered at his favorite restaurant. About thirty of us shared a great meal and remembered the good times and reminisced! It was a great time for all.

 

 

 

 

 

Some Endings…

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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

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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

 

Holes in my Brain

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I wrote this in January 2013, after  very traumatic family series of events. My wife’s mother was diagnosed with a inoperable brain tumor in November. Her father had been showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease for a year or two previously. Losing his keys and driving privileges was a major blow to his self esteem. As a result the siblings had to arrange for care for their mother and face the realization that their father would need to be confined and cared for during the remainder of his life. It was a very emotional time for all of us. He did not fully understand the impact of what was taking place. The following is a summary of the emotional roller coaster he went through while we stayed with him waiting for him to be placed. I posted this earlier, but feel it is important to share this again to help others understand what caregivers go through.

As sad as this story is, he has since adjusted to his new living quarters and the routines. We recently made the 2500 mile trip to help him celebrate his 90th birthday with some family and friends. It as a great party that he enjoyed, but the next day he did not remember how old he was nor that he had a party. These are the joys and challenges of Alzheimer’s. Living in the moment is all we have!

Memory Goes Out Through Black Holes in the Brain

“I have come to discover that I now have black holes in my brain.

Spaces of emptiness that never get filled.

Like the holes in my pants pocket the memories slip out…”

 

“Oh, you are here? Well I didn’t realize! When did you get here?

You have been here a few weeks? Well I didn’t remember.

Tell me something I should know…

What shall we talk about…”

 

“Can I do something for you… do you need a light on?

Would you like to watch the News if I turn it on?

Do you want me to set the table for breakfast?

Can I help you in some way?

Would you like a piece of chocolate? Go ahead have one!”

 

“Is this Sunday? Are we going to church today?

Where is Mother & when is she coming home?

She won’t be coming back home? Oh my!

These are things I should remember.

When will we go to see here again? Can we go today?

We were there today?

Why can’t I remember? Were we just there today?!”

 

“I remember my grandmother was just like this.

She would apologize for her poor memory all the time.

I hope I never get that way.”

 

“By the way, where is Mother?

Do you know when she will be back?

She’s at the home!!? I didn’t know.

Somebody should have told me!”

“When will she be coming home?

You say she won’t be coming home!?

Oh my, I will have to learn to cook!

Perhaps you can show me how to cook…”

I will have to take care of myself.

“I just discovered I have no money in my wallet!

Can you take me by the bank tomorrow to cash a check?

I should pay you something for your expenses.

You are keeping the expenses on a tab?

Well, I should pay you.

You will take care of me? But you can’t keep coming to stay with me?

I should pay you something to help with the expenses.

You are using a debit card… from my account?

Well, I wonder why the bank didn’t notify me about this.”

 

“Tell me, Where is Mother?

Oh yes, she is at the home… up on 104th Avenue…

near Hollyrood close to the church.

Have I ever been there? I have… I don’t seem to remember.

Will she be coming home this evening?

She’s Living there… all the time? For how long!?

She won’t be coming home again? Is she sick? What is wrong with her?”

 

“Can you take me with you when you go to see her?

Can we go this evening to see her?

We were just there this afternoon? Why can’t I remember that?”

 

“Good night, I must check to see that the door is locked.

 

I just came back out to see if I had locked the door.

Well it looks like all the doors are locked.

 

Is anybody there…

 

Oh, I just came back out to check to see if the door was locked.”

 

“Good Morning… Where is Helen?”

 

Written in memory of Ruth’s father. who was in the stress of losing his wife to a brain tumor as well as losing his own independence to Alzheimer’s disease during the Christmas of 2012.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth