Poem - For My Father (with Alzheimer's)

Do you remember that you love me?
Do you remember that I love you too?
You took care of me
Now I will take care of you
The winter of your life is upon us
The chill freezing your mind
Each morning brings the thaw
Unlocking old pleasures to find
Every day brings back your life
Your loves covered in dew
Glistening like awakening flowers
Bringing their joys to you
Everyone mired in routine
Unhappy, bored, and cynical
You, the forever child
Tingling with life, stuttering yet lyrical
The leaves never forget to fall
They remind of the season
The sun remembers to rise
Giving your life reason
Through your eyes I see
Your new vision is a gift
You awaken to a rebirth
As through my life I sift
Don't be sad my father
It is you who is pure
In this I believe
Of this I am sure
Let me be your journey
Let me be your destination
Begin your perpetual discovery
In the cocoon of your creation
Take your baby steps
I will hold your hand
I am you; You are me
We are the shifting time of sand
As you crawl, I still learn
Your lessons of truth survive
Even as you forget your cup
You remember how to be alive
Together we relive the past
I want to hear what you say
Tell me about your life
I want you to be my day
You showed me how to live
Today a new lesson is taught
The blessing of rediscovery
The gift that cannot be bought
I embrace the affliction
Startling me in my slumber
I pray others can learn too
As all our days are numbered
Let your world come alive
On this your dignity depends
Every day take the chance
And trust your family and friends

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Comments 41 comments

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

Great tribute to your dad. I can empathize with you as we were caregivers for my wife's mom. A horrible disease and requires much patience and understanding, thick skin, but your love will carry you through.


onceuponatime66 profile image

onceuponatime66 5 years ago from USA IL

Wow, great tribute for you dad, and I know how you feel. I also know that you are strong and can get through this. In Life we have lessons and this one is special and you are a part of it. Wishing you blessed days.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Beautiful, and since I lost Dad to Alzheimer's in 1999, it has special meaning to me.

One of the cruelties of this awful disease is the dementia. Since I was the only boy out of four children, my dad and I were always very close, but with the onset came a period in which my father thought I was stealing from him, and wanted nothing to do with me.

I was crushed, but in the later stages he forgot his animosity and we became close again. Sadly, I lost over a year of precious time with my father due to his delusions.

Thank you for this Hub. I shall treasure it.

Good luck with your father. He obviously has a loving son.

Bill


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon

Hanging on and letting go. All of life, condensed in to each new day. Wonderful poem. Be well as each new day unfolds.


daravuthz profile image

daravuthz 5 years ago from Cambodia

Great tribute for your dad. Thanks for your wonderful poem.


catalyst20 profile image

catalyst20 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

I know how it feels to have a father who is in his twilight years. And to think that he is infirmed, that's really saddening. My father had a stroke while he was yet 52 and I can relate to your feeling of mixed joy and sadness as you remembered those close moments with him.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

I am moved beyond words...Voted up and beautiful.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

A sad subject in any case. My oldest brother was struck with the disease in his fifties. We didn't even know what it was at the time.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Apparently, this disease strikes many, some in their prime. Your tribute shows a purity...a return to innocence inspired by the devastation this disease inflicts, which victimizes the sufferer along with all who know and love him. I would imagine there are resources in newsletters and publications that offer some ideas for caretaking of both the victim and his/her caretakers. Your beautiful piece should be part of that, as I know anyone traveling this journey would understand your words and feel some comfort in your awe inspiring take on a devastating disease.


azure_sky profile image

azure_sky 5 years ago from Somewhere on the Beach, if I am lucky :)

Another great piece....a beautiful tribute to your Dad.


MtShastaWriter profile image

MtShastaWriter 5 years ago from Mt. Shasta Valley, CA

Beautiful poem!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@Fiddleman – thank you for commenting. Things are somewhat stable at the moment but I’m bracing myself for the worst…

@onceuponatime – thank you. We have a team in place including some wonderful friends so it’s going as smoothly as possible.

@WillStarr – thank you Will. My father hasn’t had any delusions yet but he did suffer from some paranoia in the beginning because he thought his wife was playing tricks on him. It was when he accepted his situation that things became easier for everyone. He had to let go of being “the patron” and trust us.. that is what the last line of the poem is about.

@arb – thank you for commenting. Yes, living day to day and rediscoverying old loves. That is what he is able to do now. I think it sustains him.

@daravuthz – thank you for your consistently kind comments to my hubs.

@catalyst – thanks. Yes aging brings on so many problems. It is the challenge of a lifetime as we struggle not only with our own ailments but the emotional toll taken by the loss of our parents and others.

@breakfastpop – thank you for such a kind remark. I was feeling very emotional when I wrote this so it came to me very quickly. I was thinking of my Dad and watching my children compete at a swim meet… I was caught between the passing of generations….

@dahoglund – that’s terrible to get this disease at such a young age. At least my father is in his 80’s. At times I’m more concerned about his wife’s mental state than his because he wears her out but he seems to have the same stamina as usual… he’s just confused more if that makes sense.

@Amy Becherer – thank you so much for your kind remarks. Yes there is a return to innocence because he is a child again. He knows he is dependent and is somewhat passive now. We have good doctors and information and in fact I’ve heard of some new drug that may be available next summer but who knows… I am trying to see him as much as possible and we had a great weekend two weeks ago enjoying all the things we still like to do… mainly listening and playing music (me the piano; him the bongo – he’s Cuban)

@MtShastawriter – thank you for commenting!


Kindacrazy profile image

Kindacrazy 5 years ago from Tennessee

We lost my father-in-law 5 years ago on Dec. 27 to dimentia. We are now going through this horrible disease with my mother-in-law. It is a devestating disease that robs the entire family. I can relate to every line in your beautiful poem. Thank you for saying it with grace and love.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@kindacrazy - thanks for following me and commenting. Yeah it is a terrible disease and just seems so cruel for everyone to have to endure. I guess nobody said life was going to be easy... "not a rose garden..."


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

I am so sorry for your loss,even though they remain,they are gone in a sense.The moments they are lucid is a true joy.I know what you are feeling.I've been there.Thank you.Your poetry is wonderful.

Peace and Love


Linda Myshrall 5 years ago

You obviously have a rare capacity to love. It takes a great deal of character (not to mention a very starchy spine) to accept this dark thing so that you can challenge it on its terms...

I remember watching my mom present my grandmother, who was besieged with Alzheimers, with a child's stuffed animal. I cried while I stood outside the door and watched my mom play with her childlike mother.

I wasn't moved so much because I was sad for my grandmother, but more because my grandmother was happy in her moment and my mom had accepted the fact that her mom was still capable of feeling happiness and joy---just not on my mom's terms.

My mom understood and accepted that they would rarely, if ever, relate on their familiar adult terms, but that didn't mean that they couldn't relate at all... I was so proud of my mom's willingness to stand up to her own fears and do what had to be incredibly hard for her.

I am impressed by you in the same way that I was impressed by my mom. Very best to you and your dad.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

How very touching, and poetically effective.


adagio4639 profile image

adagio4639 5 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

Hi Poet,

A really moving piece. I lost my own dad to dimentia a few years back. It was very difficult for me. He was amazing with tools, and his brilliant mind was his greatest tool. To have that tool taken from him was heartbreaking.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@always exploring - Thank you... yes the moments we currently have together have taken on a heightened meaning and I feel I'm learning to live in the moment.

@Linda - thank you... he is still capable of being my father and giving me advice... he surprises me at times and I let him say his piece. I hope that as the relationship evolves that somehow he and I can maintain the rapport that we've always had.

@twilight - thank you again for another kind comment.

@adagio - thank you. I'm glad that I'm able to find people such as yourself who understand the road we will be traveling with him.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Awesomely beautiful! I've seen this all up close. God bless your father!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@Micky - thank you my friend... it's too bad that we have to get to know these things but life does that...

Mark


2uesday profile image

2uesday 5 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

I hope someone struggling to cope with a relative with Alzeiheimer's reads this and sees it in the light you present it in. Your patience and understanding shines in this. It takes every ounce of ingenuity and skill to cope with caring for someone with this and I think sharing this poem may lighten someone's day.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@2uesday - thank you. Yes it's a tough situation but it's still manageable. He has his wife and another live-in woman to keep an eye on him. I'm hoping his wife can keep her patience. He keeps repeating himself. What helps me ironically is that because the end may be near I am actually able to enjoy him more because my mind is now focused on the dwindling days so I'm counting those blessings that seem to get ignored for so long.


chspublish profile image

chspublish 5 years ago from Ireland

Wonderful insightful view of your father's condition and your willing strength to support the situation.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@chspublish - thank you for that and I'm trying... a poem is the easy part... being there is what counts...


Marina Lester 5 years ago

Beautiful, beautiful words with a beautiful message. This is one of my favorites of yours now. I really liked "Today a new lesson is taught

The blessing of rediscovery

The gift that cannot be bought" This is work of greatness, and I thank you for sharing...


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@Marina - You humble me. It's just something that hit me... the idea that each morning you wake up not remembering who you are or what it is that you love. So instead of being burnt out you are fresh and new. And somewhere inside your essence still exists and it responds to those things that you love. Everyday. And it's "Feels Like The First Time" all over again. I was hoping maybe he was able to have that.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

Very well done so sensitive and full of love. You're quite the wordsmith and I tip my hat to you sir.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@pmccray - thank you... when you truly love someone it seems that the needed sensitivities are there...


justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

I chose this as my first read of your work because I too have seen the devastation from this horrific problem. You're compassion bursts from this hub. Excellent work!! Peace!! Tom


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@justom - thank you for the kind remarks... it is a sad situation but we're still able to have good times....


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

The Suburban Poet - I can totally empathize with your words. Mark, I had read this poem several months ago, but my father's passing was still very fresh and my heart was literally too heavy to allow me to comment. Although Pancreatic cancer was what took him from us it was Alzheimer's that first crept him away like a malicious and tenacious thief. However, his unexpected lucidity in his final days is a gift I will always be thankful for. Your words are powerful, raw and true. This is very well written, intimate and powerful. Thank you for allowing us into your heart and thoughts.

For My Father is a wonderful poem and an exceptional tribute from a son for his father - very well done.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@missolive - Hi... it's tough. We had a very difficult week a couple of weeks ago and there was some harsh realizations including tension between family members. Maybe not stated but felt. His care is becoming a problem. I wrote "No Man Is An Island" after our tough weekend as I had to drop everything to help with him and in return for my efforts I had to disappoint my eight year old daughter. I had to break a promise. Then I got a lecture from her mother. It was one of the worst days of my life as melodramatic as that sounds but I was surrounded with bad choices but here I am and she still loves me. So life certainly has it's ups and downs.

I'm sorry about your father passing. It's very difficult to get old because we have to watch our parents deteriorate along with our own troubles. "Unexpected lucidity" Interesting.. a metaphysical moment? Maybe... Thank you for taking this one to heart....


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

Although it was due to difficult circumstances you've gained a beautiful teachable moment between you and your daughter. Thoughts you can reflect and share as she grows older. I'm sorry to hear you had a difficult week and you had to face some tough crossroads. Valleys and the conflicts within seem to come in truckloads at times.

Yes, we are growing older and watching our parents age is not easy. I bid you strength.

I'll be sure to check out 'No Man Is An Island'


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

My daughter seems to be fine with it all. She saw my Dad later that week and was happy about that. But she keeps saying, "You owe me one Daddy." Ha.... thank you again for reading these things and being so nice about it.


Sollers 4 years ago

I love that man, as well.

Great work my friend.

Truly great!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Thank you Robert (Sollers). We had a great set of men raising all of us back in Laredo.....


Carol 4 years ago

WE Love You Mom and Dad.....!


Eileen 3 years ago

That poem is beautiful and I am using it for my father's 80th birthday. I feel like you wrote it for him. Thank you!


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 3 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Thank you Carol...

@Eileen - I am very honored to hear this. I hope he is doing ok. By Dad is fighting the fight but the Alz is winning. It's a terrible thing.


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 2 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Coda: He passed away a few weeks ago. It was a downward spiral. We had to move him to a memory care facility due to his many needs; but even until the end he remained positive. That was his true nature and he never forgot about that.

Thanks to you all who read this poem and gave me encouragement. As a family it was difficult at times but we are all together and there is some relief that he ius now in a better place.

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