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Two Poems: Dedicated To My Mother As She Deteriorates With Dementia...

Updated on January 20, 2012

Family Lost

"This is my home"

She says without a smile

I listen

Quietly tearful all the while

"All those I loved once filled that living room

Where much living now has turned to lifeless gloom"

"And at that table family all would eat

Oh the smell of minted peas and roasted meat"

"Children playing, laughter everywhere,

Conversation filled the homely air"

Their absence now is more than she can bare

Her husband John has long since gone

she never loved again

I even thought she would submit

but soldiered on in pain

"They all found other places now to go… apart from you"

She said

Then cried and bowed her trembling head

For once I had no clever words to say

As I watched my mother's broken heart give way

I held her in my arms and kissed her head

I wept with her

Then nothing more was said

Of Moments Passed

She looks beyond her present state

No future does she see

With wrinkled hand she hesitates

To sip her cup of tea

Her eyes but look with pleasures lost

That shone in younger years

A handkerchief with name embossed

To hide the forming tears

Her living room without a sound

Still so dimly lit

With family photos all around

Silently she sits

She trembles as she moves to speak

But words have long since gone

Manages to sigh then weep

And wonders what went wrong

I hold her frail and withered hand

She gazes in my eyes

I cannot find the words to say

As I watch her slowly die


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    • sarcasticool profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks. You understand then, I can see that. Most times of late I feel the strain is too much, almost on the verge of a break down I think. I am probably going to get some respite soon. Mentally and physically drained right now. Hub pages have been a good escape for me. I don't even think I have my accounts set up properly so I am not making much from these hubs, just friends, followers and a release for my sanity.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      I completely understand when you say it's like she is there but she isn't. I experienced this when my father was dying of liver disease. Stay strong and take time for yourself because you have three children who need you to be you and a mother who needs the same.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I had to finally give up and hand my mother over to a nursing home, well several before the end really and that is where the real nightmares began. Consider if it might not be worth it to pay a helper at those worst times rather than do something you may forever regret. Who can say why some seem to have more on them than others but our love will be rewarded, be sure. I came here because of the horrors and screaming and writing poetry and does help to let it out. My mom has been gone over a year now and her last year was something no one deserved and I could not stop. God does love you, just believe it whether it looks like it or not. We know he does not lie, so maybe believing will help you find answers. myendlessloves in inspirational is some of my poetry of Mom if you want an idea of what it was.

    • sarcasticool profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you very much. There is nowhere else my poetry can be written from but deep inside me.

    • sarcasticool profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      I get some support from Nurse Maude and Health care NZ to come and dress and shower her, her except for weekends when I somehow try to manage. They can't be here at 3 am or 4 am and clean up the messes she does before my kids wake up. I deal with all her meds as she has a lot of puffers for emphysema and other tablets etc. Feel trapped most times. I never used to let anyone help due to OCDs and trust issues, but I think I was heading for a break down so I have a social worker now and a bottle of Diazapam. The only way I can express my feelings, emotions and the pain of my childhood is through my poetry. My life is a lonely one and I know it isn't going to end well, but I do have the hope of someone I love far away.

    • SomewayOuttaHere profile image


      6 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

      that was an excellent piece...well written...from the heart and soul.....

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Sometimes you can also get help from local churches or volunteer groups. When we were taking care of Dad, the local ALS support group was wonderful. They loaned us an electric wheelchair and offered us advice, resources and volunteer help, all for free.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I do hope you will check into resources for caregivers in your area. If there is a Social Services or Human Services agency, they might be able to help you with respite care (perhaps by volunteers) so that you can have a day or two off when you need it most. Since you live in New Zealand, I don't know if your Mother has something like our Medicare or Mediaid in the U.S., but perhaps there is some type of medical assistance program there that will pay for part-time nursing aides to come in and take care of her (baths, giving meds, etc.) to help you. Caregivers must take care of themselves or they won't be able to care for their loved one.

      I wish your sister and brother would offer to help you, either personally or by paying for part-time nursing aides. You mention that your brother began helping, but then he got a partner and stopped. That's not a good reason. Why don't you talk with both your siblings, tell them what your full-time caregiving is like and ask for their help. The worst they can do is say "no", and they may surprise you and say "yes." I certainly hope so!

      God bless you....Jaye

    • Laura Matkin profile image

      Laura Matkin 

      6 years ago from Laceys Spring, Alabama

      I have wondered the same thing. Haven't I suffered enough? God has made us stronger people, the process is no fun but don't forget the joy in your life. 3 Awesome children. The big deep and thrilling love you got to experience before you had your heart ripped out.

      My Mother went to see her 92 year old Grandmother, a very religious woman, a few days before she died. My Mother was so upset to see my Grandmother crying, sad and frail. She said "I should have told them". What unfinished business she had I will never know, A woman in the bed next to her told my Mother and Grandmother to pray with her, they did and the woman explained that this is how the Devil tries to get you. His last attempt near death is to make you unhappy and unforgiving of yourself, make you feel unworthy of heaven. It was such a blessing to have that woman in the next bed over lift my Grandmothers spirits and chase the darkness away. Grandmother died 2 days later.

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      God bless you -- and yes, stars in your crown. My own mother just had open heart surgery and lives with me. My father died of Lou Gehrig's six years ago and we cared for him every day. He died over about a span of three years, and at the end couldn't lift a spoon to his own mouth. It's very, very hard to watch that. I comforted myself with the fact that he was going to Jesus.

      I'm sorry about your troubles, but I think you're absolutely doing the right thing. It has been my observation that the right thing is usually the hard thing. But God sees everything you do, and one day your mother will, too. Strength to your arm, friend.

    • sarcasticool profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Honour they Mother and Father, well I have tried hard to do that, sometimes I do feel resentful when I count the loss and sacrifice in my own life for what I do. My life has never really been a happy one, and if mum could remember she would say the same thing. It was a very dark and tainted childhood. Some of my other poems tell the story of that. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes, they are always appreciated!

    • sarcasticool profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      I do wonder where God is. Actually I used to preach part time in a small Baptist Church five or so years ago.

    • sarcasticool profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you. I will try to have a good day. I guess having constant earthquakes here just makes things so much worse.

    • sarcasticool profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      That is true. My brother and sister who visit less than usual, have no idea. They think she is not so bad, to them it is just like memory loss and old age, but they are not there a 3am to clean up the messes, or see the sudden moments of tears and frustration. My mother sometimes calls me by my father's name. My brother started out helping me so I used to return home with my family but he found a partner and I had two choices; to move in with her or a rest home. I moved in with her, my marriage of 23 years ended and I am doing this alone with three of my children who also live with me after the separation. It is very hard.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Being the primary caregiver for a mother who has dementia is heart-breaking, but also gives one the opportunity to do something special for the mother who gave you life, reared you, always did her best for you and worried about you even after you flew the nest.

      My own mother was diagnosed with dual dementia--Alzheimers Disease and vascular dementia. She lived the last three years of her life with me, and though there were times when I went into my bedroom, closed the door and cried for the mother I was losing (one of the most difficult times was when Mom, who had played the piano beautifully by ear since a teen, sat down at my piano and suddenly realized she no longer knew what to do), those three years were still a blessing to me.

      Even while her short-term memory deteriorated, she recalled events from her youth as though they were yesterday and recounted them to me with enthusiasm. I learned so much about Mom I hadn't known before.

      She was so kind and sweet, even when she was finally bedridden because she could no longer walk. She never complained about the indignities associated with being cared for when she could no longer do things for herself. She never complained at all, about pain or discomfort or the loss of so many things she enjoyed.

      The most wonderful blessing of all (and rare, I know) was that on the last day of her life, as I and others close to her gathered around her bed and held her, she still recognized me. I will cherish that for the rest of my own life.

      So...God bless you as you care for your mother, and God bless your mother, also. Take care of yourself and accept help from others who offer it to give yourself needed respites. Just remember that when (or if) your mother reaches that point where she no longer recognizes you or other loved ones, she will not be suffering from this loss, as she will not know it is happening. May God make you strong when this time comes, if it does.

      My late grandmother would have said of you and your loving care for your mother, "You are adding stars to your crown in Heaven."


    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I am so sorry that you both are going through this. May you both find peace through Christ and the leading of God's Holy Spirit. You are a wonderful son to care so gently for your mother. It shall not be unnoticed in her heart or in God's eyes. Bless you both.

    • shimmering Dawn profile image

      shimmering Dawn 

      6 years ago

      I can understand how it feels... to have her with you and yet not have the real person with you. May God give you his strength through all this. Have a lovely day!

    • roc6 profile image


      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Something so hard to understand, only when you are with them experiencing it, do you see it. The other family that are not there never see things the same.

    • sarcasticool profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you. I am her full time caregiver and over the past 4 years it has been so hard to watch her slowly slip away from me. I miss her, it's like she is there but she isn't.

    • shimmering Dawn profile image

      shimmering Dawn 

      6 years ago

      Touching tribute. She is blessed to have a son who understands. Shalom!


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