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June 21, 2016

An Oasis in the Desert of Dementia. {Poem}

Ismael Nieto/Unsplash

She sits in a chair in a place that she doesn’t call home,

Surrounded by strangers and they feel just as alone,
She wanders the corridors, searching for some sort of peace;
Something familiar to put her at ease.

Memories of old creep in and steal her away,
To a place in her mind where she recognised all in her day.
You see the glint in her eye as she tells of a man,
Her husband, who just left to carry out some crazy plan.
But we know his spirit was taken, such a long time ago,
Her mind believes he’s still here, would it kill her to know?

These halls of the care home become lives intertwined,
Lost souls search for familiar in a life left behind.
The administrator, scurrying round keeping stock of the books,
The Major, marching his orders, OAPs now his troops.
They’ve no idea of the present, in their past they belong,
It’s the place they feel needed, where their minds remain strong.

The carers, they take on a role in the play,
They can become many people throughout the course of their day,
I become the daughter of a man of whom I was never born,
Or a delivery driver, bringing boxed goods to the firm.

A 70-year-old mum, pleating her daughter’s hair;
My child, she sits still as Moira gives her attention and care,
Making her neat for the school day ahead,
But in that moment, my child becomes hers instead.

Do we play in the game, go along with these dreams,
Or should we bring back reality, show them it’s not what it seems?
I have no idea what to do for the best,
But to me there’s a purpose for them, in their heads.

Who they are seems lost, how we fight to keep hold,
But who they were is their sanctuary, and I see it’s gold.
For would you prefer to be sat in a chair in a place which you do not call home,
Or rather living the dream of a life where you feel you belong?

I know how hard it is to watch a loved one disappear,
And I struggle with visits sometimes, this much is clear.
I hide from it, just to take time that I need,
To remember my Gran, a proud woman indeed!

She is now who she is, Dementia and all
And you know, sometimes we still have such a ball,
For I play with her there, in her dream’s reality
It’s crazy but I know I must just let it be.
To cherish her now, find joy through my doubt,
And hold onto her light that will never fully go out.

“Keep her light, Shining bright…”

 

Author: Janet Rutledge

Image:  Ismael Nieto / Unsplash

Editor: Sara Kärpänen; Emily Bartran

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Janet Rutledge