The disease does nothing but take –
life long memories slowly ripped away
whilst new ones can no longer be retained.
She’s at her happiest in the moment –
when walking in nature
throwing seeds for the birds
watching squirrels forage for nuts.
Together we sit, and colour in pictures
pick lavender and smell the flowers –
tinkle on the piano keys –
it’s easier if we have a focus.
When we’re apart, as we are for most of the year,
we talk on Skype, but conversation isn’t fluid and easy –
unable to talk of happenings in the past week or next,
we talk of what we can see, right then and there –
the weather, the difference in light,
what our dog is doing or what the children are playing.
So far away. New Zealand. England.
It’s been years since she’s been able to write and send cards –
she would e-mail and chat for hours on the phone –
that’s all gone now, the disease has taken that.
I quietly grieve, tears welling up when I least expect.
I try to be practical and prepare myself for the next stage –
feeling guilty that I’m not there to help,
knowing that the only person that really matters to her, is my dear father – her rock.
I’m no longer present, with enough regularity, to make her feel secure,
When I am, I struggle to reassure her and offer comfort,
I am not enough.
I feel for my father, with no time to process it all –
being everything, wearing all the hats –
carer, husband, keeping house, organising affairs.
It is, as it was, for my grandmother with my grandfather –
he too was struck with the same disease –
and so my grandmother was his rock.
Alzheimer’s disease is so cruel.
I hope for a cure one day, but it will be too late for my dear Mum.
I’m just so grateful for the happy years I’ve shared, and
for as long as my memories stay with me, I shall keep her true self alive.
Alzheimer’s may steal the memories, but it can’t steal the love.
I feel the fight in my Mum’s heart and I see the love all around her.
Her granddaughters carry her life forward with their every step –
and I tell her story to them over and over again.
In our hearts, our words and our actions we will carry her memories forward.
© Sarah Lee, 16 November, 2017