I stumbled across Barbara Parentini on Twitter (see how great social media is) and found this lovely poem dealing with dementia on her website: Gifts By Grace. I asked if I could share it with you and she kindly granted permission.
A Life Unraveled
Today feels like a dream, a mirage in a desert.
I watch him stumble toward it, thirsty,
longing for a sign of life-giving water to drink,
desperate to dispel death’s demons that dance
in and out of his waking nightmare.
Who are these images that beckon my father to their world,
Who taunt and frighten him and beg his food?
Where did they come from, these men working,
young women sitting with babies on their laps
and little children who sit in silence,
their haunting eyes watching him eat?
Day by day he slips away in his darkened room,
One foot in heaven and one foot in this earthly hell.
Shouts of warning, “Get out of my house!” slam
the pine walls as intruders move through them
at will… only to return again.
His near-blind eyes cloud with memories.
Dry lips whisper his New Year’s resolution to go to heaven.
In vain, he clings to dignity as his sanity evaporates
in the cruel wastelands
of the mind.
Barbara Parentini April 8, 2010
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