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
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/