Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Dementia

Not an easy time this, starting with Paul's passing and now my old man's dementia has been worsening over the last year and a bit with his memory not so good as it used to be. But in conversation with him the other day he quite startled me with fresh recollection of a church we'd entered last time I visited, months ago, and so I wrote this piece in response...

My Dad has got dementia,
A very nasty thing,
It crept up unawares
And then jabbed him with its sting.
 
A coward, like all illnesses
That wreck our loved ones whole,
Craven are they to their boot straps,
Ending us their goal.
 
He used to roar like thunder,
A lion versus whelps,
Now he’s had that taken from him
Nothing peaceful helps;
 
His brain was academic,
Top college Cambridge proper,
Now he’s nursed by those
Who in debate with him would stopper!
 
I spoke to him on Sunday,
The first time in a while,
I didn’t know what to expect –
A mouse or crocodile.
 
He fought for words at first,
Complained about his home,
(I think he thought he was next door still
Where the carers roam),
 
Anyway, he sudden changed
The subject, asked my news,
I told him we were visiting
At end of June, my views
 
Upon this and all other stuff
He listened, was delighted
That he’d see his daughter-law
And grandson, though benighted
 
By this dreadful, cold condition
Hope I do already
That he will remember them,
Be firm and strong and steady.
 
Well, would you believe it in the
Very next our talk,
When I said I’d take him for
Our usual Quorn-bound walk
 
He asked if we could see the church
And enter it therein,
Just like we did before
There view its sanctity begin.
 
It must have been six months and more
Since I had travelled there,
A gulf of time for someone suffering
His condition, care

I sudden had the world and more
For my old man who’s trying
All his best to get himself through
End of days, now sighing
 
I bid him bye and off he went
To chair or bed, whatever,
Bless Mum and my sister
Who had wanted him thus never,
 
Why on earth they have to see
A strong man brought so low
I have no idea, except with
Character and blow
 
That phone call did he for a moment
Stand defiant, proud,
‘I recalled our visit to the church,
You hear me loud!
 
A place that offers solace, hope and
Faith that in this life,
Our suffering and pain and oh yes
All our onward strife
 
Has point and purpose, shielded
From our earthly sight for reason
Won’t we know until beyond
The gate our final season,
 
Now I’m going to sit down,
Or instead I might just lie
Upon my bed, consider this
Until I close my eye,
 
Remembering my loved ones
Looking after me do care,
And so I have my picture frames
To see their faces there,
 
And so I lay me down to rest,
And so I fall asleep,
And so I pray for my close family
That they patient keep…’
 
Bizarre that this condition should
Have blighted such a man,
Blessed for sticking fingers two
Against its usual span,
 
I never will forget, and surely
Shall we visit then,
The church and its interior
Next time I’m at his ken,
 
And who knows what surprises else
He may have store for us,
My Dad who never wanted
Nor deserved dementia’s fuss.