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STRANGE LOOK IN THE EYES

(for my poor Alzheimered mother)



I can't tell if she's looking
at the television
or out the window.

She looks like
she's been deposited
on a strange & desolate planet.

It's like playing an old record
& it skips
& comes down in a different galaxy
called Nowhere.







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Comments

The following comments are for "STRANGE LOOK IN THE EYES"
by gomarsoap

Alzheimers
My best friends' mother has it. He says there's nothing there too. It is a shame. I do do pretend how to console you in this. I cannot give words of wisdom or faith. This is a very good succinct poem,Gomar.I'd like to print it for my friend. Thanks.

williamhill

( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: April 17, 2005 )

"Nowhere"
This made me recall my grandmother's demise...

Good read.
B

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: April 17, 2005 )

Strange Alzheimers
My heart goes to you.
My mother is 80 and a character. Health, hell, she's a horse.
Dad, 81, former CIA spy, is losong it a bit.I kinda wish he'd die, so he is not so dissappointed with himself. Possible grounds for a write, I think.
"My Aunt's Funeral" may interest you, under Novels, but begin at the beginning, please. Not as daunting as it sounds, I think I have about 2500 words in three posts.

This was heart wrenching, wanting to hold hearts and wanting to hold hands as we fly to better places.
So much said with such brevity. (Obviously, a skill I need to hone-)

XO
Elizabeth

( Posted by: emaks [Member] On: April 18, 2005 )

Strange Look
How very sad, Gomarsoap, and how people would consider that someone who suffers this is already dead. I don't know if I am ever being offensive to mention this, so if I do please accept my apology.

I especially liked the third stanza here, there's that element of mystery where we wonder at whatever happens inside her mind. A galaxy called Nowhere sounds so desolate and cold, it makes me shiver.

( Posted by: peterpaulino [Member] On: April 18, 2005 )

Sad and accurate
Captured an a disease in just a few words. Moving, sad, effective.

Excellent work.

( Posted by: Viper9 [Member] On: April 18, 2005 )

re: comments
Thanks to all the above for commenting on this piece. Peter, no need to apologize. It's just the nature of the disease. In fact, there's comical moments.

I've been taking care of my soon-to-be 86 yr. old mother for the past 3 1/2 years. She has had no idea who I am for the past 3 years. A few mornings ago I could hear her upstairs in the bathroom. I kept hearing a klunk, klunk, klunk sound and went up to investigate. She was coming out of the bathroom in her flannel nightgown, and instead of slippers, she was wearing my big old clodhoppers that I wear when I go fishing.

The poem came about as I was browsing lit.org and playing some old records (Johnnie "Guitar" Watson). I went to check on my mother and immediately after doing so wrote this poem in about 5 minutes and posted it here in the next few minutes. I hadn't had time to make up my mind if I liked it or not, so all of your kind comments is gratifying.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: April 18, 2005 )

Strange looks
Gomar, I understand what you mean about their being comical moments. I imagine seeing your mom in your fishing shoes made you smile for a moment. She is blessed to have a son that cares for her.Great write.

Nae

( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: April 18, 2005 )

For Gomar...no greater love!
Gomar...there is a special place in Heaven for a son who so lovingly cares for his mother...without any expectation of gratitude!

Seeing a loved one waste away with ANY disease is disheartning enough...but Altzheimers has to be God's ultimate way of testing our fortitude and commitment. Just the fact that you have kept her at home...without sending her away...is a tribute to the person you are. If you never accomplish anything else in life...you may be truly proud of the man you've become...and I salut your mother for having raised such a loving son.

Somewhere in the dark recesses of her mind...she is grateful too!

Bea

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: April 19, 2005 )

Bea
Thanks for your kind words. My mother took care of my father at home. He lost both legs and went completely blind from diabetes. Eventually he had to go into a nursing home but was only there for 2 weeks before he passed on.

Even the best nursing homes are depressing and sad. This is not to knock those that work there. My mother spent the last 17 years of her working life as a nurse's aid in a nursing home.

I have past experience working in hospitals as an orderly and in housekeeping. I always told myself that if I was in a hospital dying that I would at least try to crawl out onto the front lawn and die in the green grass.

Too bad our passing is in such clinically industrial settings. A long time ago I wrote a poem about a dilapidated barn in Indiana which struck me as a fine way to exit this world. It ended with the lines:


oh to die with grace
like the lean gray boards
of a barn in Indiana,
to fall apart in the soft weeds, just so.


Unfortunately, fate may have other, more unpleasant, plans for us.

By the way, I am not a saint. Sometimes I just have to yell out of frustration. What I've learned is that sometimes it feels better
after yelling. It's a way to blow off steam. I hope the neighbors understand.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: April 19, 2005 )

an old record that skips
Bob,

Been back to read this several times as my mum spent years in a nursing home, where my sister worked. She never knew us for several years and I I am sure that she spent most of her time in the other world. Peter's comment to you struck home also.

I admire you tremendously for I know that my tolerance does not stretch to this type of care and I had to take frequent breaks from the repetitous questions that my mum kepy asking. However it is rewarding when you can prompt memory for a little time to see them return briefly.

Your poetry sums this up....

'It's like playing an old record
& it skips
& comes down in a different galaxy
called Nowhere.'


Namaste,

Ivor

( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: April 19, 2005 )

Ivor
Thanks for the comment. I have to confess that I do get a small stipend per month - just enough to maintain my modest vices.

I'm sure it was a comfort to your family that your sister worked there.

I must say you've become a lively contributor since you appeared at lit.org. I recently read your piece about the haunted spirit at the workplace, liked it very much, but didn't have time to comment.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: April 19, 2005 )

Gomarsoap
Bob,
For some reason I was reminded of a poet who wrote these words about death when reading this:
~~~~~~~~~
'The trick is to take life
as seriously
as you take death.

And hope someone tosses a rose
on your grave.

Or tosses petals into the wind
for you burned-up ones.'
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Not the first time you have shown your caring nature in your work.....

Thanks again for the read,

Ivor

( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: April 19, 2005 )

Look of nowhere...
this I must say is sad, and reality for some. It is a thinker peice of work, I liked this that she
at least, is not fighting, the not knowing...who knows, what she knows at times, that was my way of dealing with the reality...as a nurse I dealt
with many patients and families dealing with this...appreciate you sharing this, prayers of peace be with your mother and you.

Robin

( Posted by: Robinbird [Member] On: April 20, 2005 )

altzheimer's poems
I have read several, here and elsewhere, and written a few. This is as good as any and shorter than most. Very nice.

( Posted by: SamPark [Member] On: April 20, 2005 )

Gomar & Robert Frost
Gomar...I loved the lines you quoted from an old poem about death using a barn as a metaphor.
Could you please post it in its entirety for us to read? It almost reminded me of Robert Frost.

By the way...I also cared for my husband who died at home of cancer after a 2 yr battle. That is what he wanted...and I couldn't think of his being anywhere else. I just wonder...would my kids do the same for me???

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: April 20, 2005 )

far away eyes
I was reminded of my grandmother gazing at galaxies so many years ago. I was but a child.

More recently I watched my mother being eaten by cancer. I was but a child once again.

Thanks for sharing this.

( Posted by: drsoos [Member] On: April 20, 2005 )

Robin/Sam/Bea/Soos
I'm amazed at the number of comments on this poem and thank you all.

Robin - having worked with nurses, you have my respect. I've seen the burn-out. People forget that nurses, like all of us, have personal problems to deal with, then have to go into work and deal with people that have nothing but bad things happening to them.

Luckily, my mother is not combative and has a sweet disposition, although about a year ago she threw a camera at me because I was trying to keep her from cleaning out the cat litter box with her bare hands. For the record, she missed.

Sam - Wow, thanks for the compliment on this poem.

Bea - Knowing your great heart and love, I'm sure your children and grandchildren will not let you down.

I'll post that poem sometime soon. Unfortunately, the rest of the poem may not be as satisfactory as the ending. Look for, "AFTER THE BARN DANCE".

drsoos - Sorry about your mom. Your comment here is a poem in itself.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: April 20, 2005 )

Hey Gomar,,,,
I thought I had posted a comment here. Was wondering what else you had posted as of late...so I came to check on you and wanted to read this one again. Here I never commented and to my shock really, because this poem left me "feeling" and thinking all day, , , of things I miss. Even this. Being adopted, losing family members I never had the chance to grow old with my family. I have written several pieces that seems like I have, but they are only based on what I THINK it would feel like. I think you would like the one I did called "Forget Me Knots". I tried to capture HOW I would feel with an elderly woman in my life. I wanted to write one after reading your poem here and one other one from another one of our members. So essentially it was somewhat inspired by this as well Bob.
Anyways, I like this poem alot. Hoping your mom is doing ok still.......and you are both lucky to have one another, even if it sometimes is quite difficult.

Thanks for sharing this....and those boots....makes me smile each time I think of it.
respectfully,
Darlene

( Posted by: Dareva [Member] On: May 19, 2005 )

I know this one
I've been through this, too: with my Dad, who died of brain cancer, at home, when I was seventeen, with Angelina, at home (I appreciate your comment "if I was in a hospital dying...I would at least try to crawl out onto the front lawn and die in the green grass." When I took Angelina out of the hospital to take care of her myself, one of the cheif nurses said "But she might die!" I told her: "I'm not afraid of her dying, I'm afraid she might not get to live.")

And my Mom.

Someone asked me, "Why are you still hung up on Angelina? She died!" And I told them, "Well, I don't hold that against her."

( Posted by: johnlibertus [Member] On: August 5, 2005 )

Dear John
I'm familiar with your losses from your many poems and comments.

"I'm not afraid of her dying, I'm afraid she might not get to live." That says it all, brother.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: August 12, 2005 )





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