Remembering Alone

 

Loneliness overcame her

like a feather pillow

gently smothering

her hope.

 

She remembered going to Uncle Cy’s house

to play with her cousins (what were their names?)

and having her teeth set on edge

by Aunt Cora’s rhubarb pie.

 

She was troubled her daddy never came to visit.

She couldn’t even tell him where to find her.

And where was her husband? She hadn’t felt

his embrace in what seemed like forever.

 

She basked in a memory of hanging clothes on the line

one summer day wearing a halter top and shorts

while her boys wrestled

in the cool grass at her feet.

 

A UTI brought back the fog.

Thoughts became like sparks

that flared and then flickered out in the fuddle

before she could finish a sentence.

 

She remembered…. She tried to remember….

She couldn’t remember.

Those lovely retreats that were her hope

were gone — at least for now.

 

She asked her son,

“Why hasn’t daddy come?”

She was stricken when he gently whispered,

“Mom, grandpa passed a long time ago.”

 

There was something she desperately

wanted to remember but couldn’t.

It called to her from the porous edge of

her consciousness promising to buoy and buttress.

 

At her son’s next visit, he said,

“Never forget how much God loves you.

He never forgets you.

He’s here even when I can’t be.”

 

Something warm like the embrace of her husband,

and comforting like the sound of her father’s voice,

was kindled by her son’s words.

But how long would she remember?

 

Don has spent the majority of his career in education teaching from academy to post graduate. For the past 18 years he has been in academic administration first as Chief Academic Officer and then as Assistant to the President for Mission at AdventHealth University. Don has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University, and a Ph.D. in Counseling from Purdue University. Last fall he and his wife Merrie Lyn retired to Kettering, Ohio to be near family.

Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

 

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10704
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Thanks so much for this. My 92 year old dad is walking this path now and it is difficult.

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Tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat as I read this. My wife of 46 years has advanced Alzheimers. Sometimes she’s lucid but most times just rattling off nonsense.
She has little remembrance of our past and sometimes forgets who I am. In the beginning there was hope of a cure. As the years pass the reality of a cure and unanswered prayers become harsh and heartbreaking.

Thank you for this article…

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Very poignant…the human condition is so real.

Thank-you.

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