On Aging

Say it Rah-shay By Apr 19, 2009 No Comments

My grandmother, or as the kids call her, ‘Bubbe’, is staying with Mom, The Bee and me for a while. Without exaggeration I feel my heart race, my breath catch and feel anxious as I think of what the visit will bring. Sadly, she has become a shell of a woman as she her mind is stolen by Alzheimer’s disease*. When I look at her I no longer see the grandmother who used to sneak candies to me in church or ride the subway with me when Buffy and I were on the way to school. While there are days that she is sharp and with it, speaking fondly of her day at “The Harbor” (an senior day center she goes to) or sharing adventures as a child, these days are overshadowed by the times when she is confused and needy, angry at not being able to remember or frustrated with a lost idea or thought. We can sit and chat about when she was a young mother and when she was a young person, working and trying to be “cool!” But again, the dark times always lurk, turning her into a confused ball of person, asking the day or time or where she is several times in a few minutes, not even realizing that she has already asked these questions. It often feels as if I am raising another child as she defiantly refuses to consent to the simplest request.

Dedicated to every family whose parent is suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Where Did You Go? by Nancy B Scott*

She just sat and stared at the wall.
It seemed like an hour or so.
I don’t know where her mind took her,
But I could tell she wanted to go.
There was such a peace about her,
Even though she didn’t speak at all.
I could tell it was somewhere special,
Because for once she looked so tall.
Since this illness has taken her memory,
She rarely ever smiles.
But where ever it took her today
She enjoyed it all the while.

This poem is for the moments when she is lucid and sassy.

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Love you Grandma,

*It may be a cliche but it is so accurate.


I am mom, daughter, sister, yarn lover, word lover, crazy cat lady and library chick. Find me with book or with hook and a hot cuppa.

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