Thursday, January 25, 2018

Winding Down: A Window Pane on Parting

©2018 Susan Noyes Anderson

We sit.
She, burgundy chair.
Me, blue leather sofa.
Like so many times
before, days of yore.
She used to watch me,
claim me, eyes love-lit.
I'd blush. You're staring, Mom.
But I put up with it.

She watches still.
Soft hazel eyes,
once bright
stare past me now
devoid of mother-light.
Unclaimed, I try
to hold her eyes
with mine. Be seen,
be heard, be known,
wait for a sign.

Sure love you, Mom.
My voice, too soft,
falls lonely.
I love you.
Louder now and yet
Oh, for a word!
Heart plummeting,
I yield
or nearly so.
Mom's moving on
beyond me.
This I know.

We sit.
She, burgundy chair.
Me, blue leather sofa.
Like so many times
before, days of yore.
Between us, coffee table,
stool, my longing.
I lift a hand,
small wave from
distant shore.

Sunrise. As if on strings, 
her elbow bends.
One weathered hand responds.
The distance ends.
I blow a kiss; she smiles.
Ghost smile, but true.
Small fingers pressed to lips,
she blows back two.
I twist my hands in
semblance of a heart.
She follows suit and
claims me, every part.

Time pauses;
eye to eye
our spirits touch.
So many years remembered,
sweetly shared.
I love you, Mom.
Once more, her
light shines through.
Sun to my soul,
she speaks.
I love you, too.


The onset of dementia is an inexplicable sorrow for loved ones, and my family is no different. I can imagine few things more heartbreaking than watching my lovely, intelligent mother decline in capacity day by day. How I miss her insights, her humor, her comfort, even her criticism (though she rarely aimed any in my direction). I miss her sudoku, her crossword puzzles, her Kindle, her love for Reality TV talent shows. I miss her delight in See’s candy, small dogs, and Swedish pancakes. I miss her cooking, her curiosity, her crazed kitchen cleaning.

Yes, I miss her, but I am also grateful for the pieces of her 90-year-old self that are left to me. This poem shares a moment that I will treasure always. Maybe it will resonate with you.

For long-time readers: I know how many of you have enjoyed my mom over the years (remember her blog?), and I wanted you to know that she is being well-loved and receiving 24-hour care in her home. Her wonderful husband (Dick) is by her side, as devoted and attentive as ever. Mom still has much to smile about, and she does...especially on her good days. She remains our greatest treasure.

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brudberg said...

I know this exactly... and how I miss all the moments we postponed when she has passed beyond her veil... so many questions I could have asked...

Frank Hubeny said...

Beautiful description of your mother.

Grace said...

So beautifully shared and very moving ~ It must be very hard but I cheer you on for visiting and caring still ~

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and lovely piece. The love you have for your mother is even more beautiful.


LeAnn said...

Oh my sweet friend, I am so sorry to hear about your dear mom. I do love your mom and really enjoyed her blog. I know how hard it is to see a love one with dementia. My Dad had Alzheimers. I loved his good days. I am happy she is being well cared for and has Dick there with her.
Your poem was heartfelt and touched me in a deep way. It brought back those tender moments I had with both my Dad and Mom before they passed. Enjoy all the precious moments you can with your beautiful mom. Give your mom a hug from me even if she won't know.
Sending loving thoughts, prayers, hugs and love your way!

Bekkie Sanchez said...

Such beautiful, sad, longing for a person who is right in front of you. It must be very hard and I don't know what it's like but I feel for you and your mother. Touching work thanks for sharing with us.

Anonymous said...

This was like a kick the the solar plexus for me. I have been exactly where you are. My mom lingered for years. I was blessed in that she still knew me and one of the things we did a lot was to blow those kisses back and forth. She would say the same things over and over and, bless her, I can still hear "Never forget you're my little girl." And when I said "I love you," she would say "I love you more." Treasure those moments, Sue. It's so dang hard, but so very precious. I'm sorry you have to go through that long, long loss.

yaya said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I will always treasure your Mom's sweet blog posts and receiving one of her special sweet cakes in the mail one Christmas. (I blogged about it!) She was an inspiration to me that one could blog and be so with it at her age. I know it's hard to see the changes as I see them slowly in my Mom also. Mom even says sadly that she's not the same person. If we live to that ripe old age I'm sure we won't be the same either. I know you will treasure each moment with your dear Mother and this poem says it all. I will keep her and your family in my prayers. She's a remarkable lady and has lived an exceptional life. You are a part of that legacy and I'm so glad I've met you through this medium. Hugs Sue. Give your Mom a hug from me.

Dr. Anita Sabat said...

Very touching, Sue.
This is a sad reality.
At least you have your mother with you.
May the light shine through.
Take care. God bless.

I miss my mom too, but I have lost her to another dreaded disease...

David Brown said...

Grace be with you all.

Bryan Ens said...

This is beauty and heartbreak all rolled together. Thank you for sharing

Sarah Russell said...

I’ve heard dementia called “the long goodbye.” Your poem captures that wonderfully.

Mary said...

Oh, this breaks my heart. You have written about your mother with such love, compassion, and truth. You have shown how hard it is, but that there still is a person there who is loved! Just beautiful writing really.

colleen said...

The loss before the loss is hard but also gives us time. I love the use of the word "claim." She looks so much like my mother who recently passed.

kaykuala said...

Dementia is most frustrating on those who may not have experienced or seen it before. Difficulty to communicate suddenly becomes a reality. It is really sad! You've shown it very well here, Sue!


Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

How touching and sad this is--I know this road so well

Myrna Foster said...

Beautiful and wise.