Shattered bones broken
Eight degrees // separation
Painting: Dwight L. Roth
Painting: Dwight L. Roth
Today is open link night at d’Verse. The inspiration for this poem came as a spin-off from a post I read earlier this week. You can read it here: https://essenceandlife.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/forgiveness/
Join us at: https//dversepoets.com
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
Waiting with my wife’s mother as she came to the end of her life stirred many strong feelings. She had been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor ten months earlier. As I sat and reflected on her life and my life, I began to ponder the end of life. Some die quickly and others live on sometimes in chronic pain, while for others the pain may come from the emotional part of our being. This poem looks at the end of life stages and how they affect us.
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
Becoming physically and/or mentally disabled increases the burden even more
When one can no longer care for himself
Or have 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
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
Being adopted must be a traumatic experience for a little boy who started the first year of his life with a foster parent. This was the experience of my grandson. He was adopted into a family who spoke a different language, ate different food, and had other children. You can understand why he did not want his new parents to leave him at night. I wrote this as a lullaby that expresses some of the feelings that I imagined occurred during this time. He has since grown into a well adjusted little boy.
Sweet Baby Boy
Sweet baby boy just close your eyes
Go off to dreamland with a sigh
Sweet baby boy fly away
To worlds unknown beyond the eye
Sweet baby boy come to me now
With all your tears a crying
Sweet baby boy I’ll ease your fears
And soon you’ll be a sighin’
And when you wake I’ll be right here
Near you I’ll be lyin’
To keep you safe and let you know
This is your home where I am
Through tears and fears throughout the years
I’ll always be your Mother
And though you might not understand
There’ll never be another
Painting by Dwight L. Roth
One of the most difficult things one can encounter is losing control of your life. This poem is an account of the anxieties and feeling of loss that occurred when my father-in-law realized he could no longer remember what was happening in his life. His wife was diagnosed with brain cancer and he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. We were waiting for a facility to open where he could receive the care he needed. During that interim period he experienced great anxiety which is depicted in the sometimes word for word dialogue poem below.
Black Holes In My 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?”