How I Wish You Could See - A Poem About the Power of Unspoken Words & the Bond Between a Father & Daughter

Dad and I on an outing in the park during his extended hospital stay in January of 2011.
Dad and I on an outing in the park during his extended hospital stay in January of 2011. | Source

How I wish you could see

What I see in my mind,

Hear the words I can't say

Because they are too hard to find.

How I wish you could see

The way I feel in my heart,

Instead of my fits of frustration

At words I’ve grown unable to impart.

I've all the golden words in the world

Stuck right up here in my head,

But words are hardly worth much

If they somehow just cannot get said.

How I wish you could see

The scenes that play out one by one

Like an old black and white film or a play

Where the actors seem so familiar

In this lost footage of long ago days;

These are the memories that I wish I could share

Significant moments from time that has passed,

Sometimes played back in slow motion

Sometimes speeding by way too fast.

How long has your mother been gone now?

What year did you say that this is?

How I wish I could tell you I'm sorry

But the words are lost somewhere in the mist

Confusing the past with the present

Can that little girl really be you?

Sometimes I mistake you for your mother

Her eyes were more violet than blue.

How I wish I could remove that look from your face,

The one you try so hard not to show

When your name gets all tangled up on my lips,

I know you are wondering if I even still know.

How I wish that you knew that I see them

Those tears that you keep pushing back

When you turn your head for a moment

Smiling bravely at me when you turn back.

How I wish I could find the right words to bring comfort

Make the sadness you feel go away,

Like the witch that once lived in your closet

And be the Daddy who always saves the day.

How I wish I could tell you

So you wouldn't have to guess

At my made up signs and motions

That cause you so much distress.

They always make sense to me

But of course, I know what I'm trying to say

What thing I am trying to communicate

It's a bit like a game of charades.

How I wish you could see

When you look in my eyes

Know exactly what it is I am thinking

Without having to surmise

Or having to wonder,

Not really sure that you got it right,

Even though you patiently keep asking

And I keep trying with all of my might,

It is so difficult when things get clouded,

There's a fog in my brain that won't clear,

How I hope that you can't see what I'm feeling

When inside of me is terror and fear.

When you hold my hand it is better,

Just to know that someone is near

How I wish you could know how happy I am

To be blessed with a daughter so dear.

The words won’t come from that place where they hide,

So I reach out and take hold of your hand,

This time there's no guessing

You immediately somehow understand.

How I hope you know what I'm thinking

As you reach down to give me a hug,

When all of the things that I've wanted to say

Come out as only the single word, Love.

-Kristen Burns-Darling

©July 30, 2011 (all rights reserved)





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Comments 38 comments

Binaya.Ghimire 5 years ago

Portrayal of strong bond. Love that is.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@Binaya.Ghimire -My father and I have always been close, it is our current battle with his Alzheimer's related dementia that was the inspiration for this piece. Thank you for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are always both welcomed and appreciated!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

Your writing is strong, sad in an odd way.. compelling as it too grips the reader-- you reached out and grabbed his hand and somehow he understands.. Yeah up and awesome


tumblintumblweed profile image

tumblintumblweed 5 years ago

Such beautiful,heart-felt poem.Voted up/beautiful

Blessings,

TTW


writer20 profile image

writer20 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

beautiful poem,I hope we never come this state.


lavender3957 5 years ago

Brought tears to my eyes, so inspiring and true. GOd bless you.


WhatBigJohnThinks profile image

WhatBigJohnThinks 5 years ago

Sometimes "Love" is all you need to hear. Here's another single word ....Beautiful.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ Frank Atanacio - Thank you so much for the follow, and for the generosity of your time and your comments they are always both welcomed and appreciated! Alzheimer's disease is a horrible, devastating, sad disease, but in the past four years, as my dad and I have steadily reversed our rolls, I have learned that buried in all that sadness there are small priceless nuggets of joy. I am now following you as well, and am looking forward to reading more hubs by you!


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ tumblintumbleweed - Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and your gracious comments, I am glad that you enjoyed this one!

Thanks Again,

Kristen


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ writer20 - Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are always both welcomed and appreciated! I have been watching this disease steadily steal from me the father that I adore, it is an awful, horrible disease both for the patient and for their loved ones and I hope that one day we will find a cure. Thanks again,

Kristen


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@lavender3957 - Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and for your gracious comments, they are always both welcomed and deeply appreciated. I am also looking forward to reading hubs written by you!

Thanks Again,

Kristen


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ WhatBigJohnThinks - Yes, sometimes love is all we need to hear, and sometimes that one word can say more than a dictionary full....Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and your gracious comments, they are always both welcomed and appreciated! And welcome to Hub Pages, I am looking forward to reading hubs written by you! Thanks Again,

Kristen.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Bless you for your love and compassion for your father. How heartbreaking it is to watch them go down this path. I am so very glad he has you.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ Hyphenbird - Thank you so much for the generosity of your time, and the graciousness of your comments, they are always a welcomed addition, and very deeply appreciated. Even on the roughest of days, I am happy to do for my dad what he did for not just for myself, but for my sister as well. I couldn't imagine doing anything different, and I am glad that I was granted the opportunity to repay his devotion to his family, but I am also grateful for the time it has afforded myself, and my children, with the father whom I've adored all of my life, (except maybe for a brief period between 13 and 18 when I might have occasionally compared him to Attila the Hun), Not all of our moments, Thank God, are bad or difficult ones, there is still a lot of joy left in my father, and because I am completely aware of how precious and fleeting our time with him now is, I treasure these times, and try to remember to be thankful for each and every one, even the bad and difficult ones. Thanks Again!

Kristen


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Hi K,

This is so beautiful and heartfelt and inspiring. The path that someone takes when they begin to lose their memories can be devastating. It really reminds us of how precious every moment can be. Your father is blessed to have such a loving daughter. No doubt he knows that every time you hold his hand. You are fortunate to have such a special bond. Best wishes . . .

Sharyn


fashion 5 years ago

Beautiful poem.I love it.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ Sharyn's Slant - Hi Sharyn - I have to say that it is true, watching my bright, articulate, gregarious, opinionated, eloquent, funny, father lose his ability to share his thoughts (whether asked for or not) with not just me, but his grandchildren, his friends, (strangers who he thinks are in need of his unsolicited advice), is devastating. It is like watching him lose his identity. That is the worst thing about this dreadful disease, it doesn't just steal away your health, or your strength, or your hair, it imprisons and eventually steals away the core of who you are. Still, not all of our days our bad at present, and my father may or may not consider himself lucky at having such a daughter as I, (this is dependent upon the day, and how much he believes I am pestering, poking, or nagging at him....), I however, have known for a very long time how lucky I am to have him, and treasure every day as a gift, I know all to well how precious and fleeting our time together now is. Thank you Sharyn for the generosity of your time, your compassion, and your comments, they are always both welcomed and appreciated!

Thanks Again,

Kristen


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@fashion - Thank you ever so much for the generosity of your time and the graciousness of your comments, they are both welcomed and appreciated!

Kristen


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Very heartfelt poetry. I do so relate. I lost my Sister to cancer of the brain and her symptoms were similar to Alzheimer's disease, in fact, i thought that's what she had. Your poetry depicts the utter hopelessness we, as caregivers feel. Thank you for sharing.

Peace


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@always exploring - I am so sorry for your loss, and you're right, the symptoms of brain cancer and Alzheimer's are so very similar, I lost my life-long best friend, and godfather of my middle child to brain cancer in December of 2009, it was devastating to watch him deteriorate to the point of not being able to do simple things like dial his phone, or at the very end, to not even be able to speak, the only blessing was that from diagnosis to the day he died, was a little more than eight weeks, he went very quickly, and although I will miss him every day of my life, for his sake, there was a sense of relief. Thank you for the generosity of you time, and for your comments, they are always both welcomed and appreciated

Kristen


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

The Bond between a Father and his Daughter is such a Beautiful thing to see and witness. When that Bond is robbed by Alzheimer's or any disease it is so Devasting. What a Beautiful Poem you have given from your Experience. Thank You Kristen.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ b.Malin - You are very welcome. It is hard to explain, but even on the worst of days my dad and I still share that bond. I think that for me watching him struggle with words that he just cannot seem to grasp anymore is one of the most difficult of all the difficult things that this disease has brought. He used to be so eloquent, and witty, and when he is really struggling to get a point across there is a look in his eyes that just seems to me to say that he is confused by the very fact that he is so confused. As always, I thank you for the generosity of your time and your comments, they are always welcomed and appreciated.

Kristen


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

The first moment I've taken since last week to get on the computer as my husband sleeps - I need to be very close at all times now, there is little time left I guess. Your poem has overwhelmed my heart with peace and happiness, reminds me that words are not always necessary at all for those who have the bond of love. Thank you for writing this and for being able to see past your devastating vigil and deep into his eyes to see the love ... and for sharing this precious gift here. Big hug coming your way.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@poohgranma - Hello my friend, You have been on my mind a great deal lately, and when I didn't see you around, I figured as much. I am so glad that this poem spoke to you, and that you found some peace in it. It is true though, even on days where dad is really struggling for this word or that, or on the days when he doesn't speak to me much, just makes hand motions and gestures that are a part of his made-up sign language, when I can't understand what his needs are, or what he is trying to say to me, if I slow us both down and look him straight in the eye while talking to him, I seem to have a higher success rate at understanding him. I wish there was more that I could do to help you out at this time in both of our lives, but know that I am here, and that I am thinking of you, and praying for you both. Hugs for you also, and thoughts of love and peace to you both.

Kristen


Sarah Shepherd profile image

Sarah Shepherd 5 years ago from San Diego, California

Beautiful and poignant...


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@Sarah Shepherd - I am thrilled that you enjoyed this! Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and for your comment, they are both welcomed and appreciated!

Thanks Again,

Kristen


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Oh how I feel for you and my heart goes out to you.

The bond between a Father and Daughter is a strong one.

My Father has suffered several strokes and is no longer the strong, independent proud man he was.

It's heartbreaking to see the deterioration in him, but I know I will always be his girl, as I hold his hand.

I too wrote about my feelings and found this helped and strenghened me.

I recognised so many of your feelings written in this beautiful poem, your Father is so fortunate to have you.

Take care and my very best wishes to you.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

What a moving piece of writing. Clearly, you and your Dad learned how to communicate without words. That' love.Up awesome and beautiful.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ Movie Master - It is definitely a difficult time, but I have come to find that even in these difficult times, there are moments that are such a blessing. My Dad, like yours, was a stroke patient, suffering three stokes in about a four year period, which we believe has contributed to his dementia. Writing about my feelings has been my way of coping since my mother's battle with metastatic ovarian cancer, and her subsequent death when I was eleven, in October of 1978, and is the best therapy in the world as far as I can tell. Thank you so much for the generosity of your time, for your comments, and for your support, they are all welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Thanks Again

Kristen


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@breakfastpop - My father and I have always been close (except maybe during a short period during my teenage years when I believed he was Attila the Hun), and so I can make an educated guess on what is going on in his mind, unfortunately, as it gets harder and harder to vocalize his thoughts, wants, needs, etc.. I have to rely on that knowledge, and outward signs such as, if he is trying to communicate with me about something, and I think it is that he wants his pillows adjusted to make him more comfortable, does he settle down afterward? If he does, I think that I have done what he was trying to ask for, but even so, I am never quire sure.....

Thank you so much for the generosity of your time and for your comments and votes, they are always both welcomed and appreciated!

Thanks Again,

Kristen


gg.zaino profile image

gg.zaino 5 years ago from L'America

A personal and heart wrenching piece Kristen.

i know this is true... that writing is the closest thing; outside of moments of clarity, that we who can express can find somewhat relief in our pain.

I know this love you two share is not a thing that fades as does the memory of ones afflicted.

love survives if only in the deepest recesses of the heart and mind for those dear to us that are simply ill.

what a dreadful disease... what a wonderful daughter. your love is something that will survive the two of you-

your words say it is so- your father knows this is so.

Peace Kristen-

greg


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@ g.g.zaino - Thanks Greg, you have no idea the timing on this.....Dad had a rough night last night, fever of a 102.7 chills, and of course all of this makes the dementia that much worse, so I've been up with him all night, and your message brought me to tears....in a good way... Thanks again my friend.

Kristen


Aka Professor M 5 years ago

@K.Burns Darling: That is perhaps the most incredibly accurate and beautiful poetic interpretation ever of how your father probably really feels, Kristen.

If ever I were to believe in telepathy then this would be the perfect example to prove its existence to me. You seem to have connected with your fathers soul and this states it brilliantly, my friend.

As I know most "Men" have great difficulty in expressing themselves to those they love. This type of situation is heightened when any mental illness is there to further complicate matters.

I see the inspiration in that photo of you both and to me, it reads just like this poem, Kristen! The Love is there and you have found the right words here, which have read his mind as clearly as if he himself had dictated them to you!

God bless you both and I sure that with this piece He has! Voted this UP! I pushed every button that applied!

Regards Mike (Aka Professor M!) ;D


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@Professor M - Mike the generosity and graciousness of your comments always manages to humble me, and leave me striving to do better. It is true that I have (with the exception of a brief period between the ages of 13-18 when I thought that he was Attila the Hun.) always been very close to my father, and most of the time (even during my turbulent teen years)I have known what he is going to say before he says it, it is very different now, as my once eloquent, witty, and opinionated father, slips further and further into the mist, and actual communication between us has become more and more difficult. As I was writing this, I thought that I could hear him whispering in my ear, and I think that for the most part you are right, I pretty much captured his thoughts that night....of course, I may never know for sure, but it touches my heart when someone else thinks so too. Thank you as always for the generosity of your time, your gracious comments, and the votes, they are always both welcomed and deeply appreciated!

Thank you again my friend!

Kristen


Globetrekkermel profile image

Globetrekkermel 4 years ago from CALIFORNIA

Thank you Kristen for the poem.I can relate to your poem because I am now taking care of my aging mom who is 89 years old.I look at my mom and I feel sad because it seems I am slowly losing her.I remember all the times when she sacrificed everything for me and my 4 other sisters.She has given us unconditional love and nothing but good memories from her. I am giving her all my best attention because ,It is payback time for me. I will not have my mom for a long time and so i am making the best times for her and for me.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 4 years ago from Orange County, California Author

@Globetrekkernel - You are very welcome, and I am always honored to hear that someone else is gaining something from the words that I have written. Caring for our parents is such a double edged sword, it is very fulfilling, on one hand to be able to give back to them, some of what they have given to us, but on the other hand, it is very difficult to watch them as they slip away. It is a good thing to realize that the moments are precious and few, and to cherish each of them, but I do caution you from becoming so hyper-aware of it, that you forget to live every day in the moment...... Blessings and prayers for you and for your mother and extended family;

Kristen


Mr. Smith profile image

Mr. Smith 3 years ago from California

Thank you for this.

My parents have been gone for many years, but I'm constantly reaching out for something special in my relationship with my daughters. I don't want to be a burden, but instead an inspiration.


KristinaMPitts 2 years ago

Makes me think of my grandmother.

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