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Dementia: he had a way with words

Updated on July 4, 2016

Familiar . . . .or not

My father died when he was 86. From about 82 his mind started to deteriorate. He would suddenly have no idea where he was. They had always enjoyed walking, but now he got lost and neighbours had to direct him home.

He and my mother had to movie into an old age home - but of course that made all worse because his surroundings was even more unfamiliar. Sometimes he did not recognise my mother at all, and would think that my sister was her - she probably looked a bit like my mother when she was young.

He had no idea how to drink his medicine any more: he had no idea how to use his two asthma inhalers. If others tried to help him, he became aggressive.

The saddest thing for us was that he used to love words: the mere sound of some words. He recited poems by heart. He told us evening-stories which he made up himself - and later he wrote short stories. When he started to forget things, and could not remember the words for the simplest things, I wrote this poem.


Dementia Poem

He had a way with words:
Recited Shakespeare to our
unformed minds
Yet we trusted the foreign sounds
in his familiar voice

He had a way with words:
He told stories
generated from his mind
to amuse and bemuse us and made us
reluctantly close our eyes

He had a way with words:
His ironic stories
published at last
and proudly shared
with life-long friends

He had done away with words:
No two words to be strung correctly
to convey the simplest thought
A thoughtful thoughtlessness betrayed
in the sad frustration behind his eyes


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    • elnavann profile image

      elnavann 18 months ago from South Africa

      Thanks whonunuwho

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 18 months ago from United States

      A nice tribute and well received. whonu