Jan 142008
 

I delivered a healthy and beautiful baby boy (Ethan) on December 6 and have been a bit preoccupied (and sleepless) since. Between diapers and feedings and the holidays, I’ve been away from this blog for far too long. Thank you to all who sent me good wishes and blessings!

A generous and talented woman named Donna recently sent this poem in an email to the members of the Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International (or was it DementiaUSA?). I fell in love with it instantly, and she agreed to share it here. Thank you, Donna!

Memories by Donna Beveridge, age 65, diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s in August, 2007, from Saco, Maine

Memories.
I’ve taken them for granted,
assumed that we have a life-long relationship,
given them freedom to lie abed at will.

No longer
I ring the alarm,
open the blinds, pull back the comforter,
tumble memories out of bed and into sneakers and sweats,
insist that they, like me, exercise daily.
I, their trainer, monitor their fitness routines,
take attendance as they come and go.

I dislike clutter ordinarily, but I let my memories
Fill the corners of my life,
spill over my desk,
sprawl against doors,
fill up counters,
frolic on rugs.

I tuck memories into corners,
Arrange them in open drawers,
stack them on side tables.

I stuff my pockets with them
as well as my LLBean bag, and my backpack.
I hang them on my Christmas tree,
I plant them – a memory garden.

When memories wander out of sight,
I call them back,
Line them up in straggly rows,
Count them, categorize them
Tell them to stay put
While I hunt for those gone missing.

I find memories hiding
in my grandmother’s knitting needles,
in the smoke of my grandfather’s pipe,
in the hollows of my mother’s breasts,
in the harmonies of the songs my aunt and uncle sang

I find memories hiding
In the iron bed I shared in my foster home,
In the waves at the lake where I lived as a teen,
in the stories family told about us grandchildren,
in Nana’s Saturday night pork and beans.

I find memories hiding
In my children’s matchbox cars,
And in the pages of my teacher plan book.
I find a few memories in my underwear drawer,
And others in medicine cabinets,
and between rumpled sheets,
But none among my socks.

I saw a memory fly over the marsh yesterday
But it didn’t land, and the egret kept on fishing.
At sundown the memory returned,
hungry

A tiny memory
Slips out of Betsey’s mouth today in a smile.
She laughs then, and memories drop like red apples.
I polish each one on the hem of my shirt
and savor them on winter days,
apple crisp, warm with memory topping.

I don’t expect to find memories in diagrams and lists,
But they hibernate there,
Knowing I’ll forget them,
Until one spring day in the middle of a thaw
they break through the ice and flood the culverts.
I cup soggy memories in bare hands,
sip them, refreshed.

Some memories hide from me
In turtlenecks and bulky sweaters,
in the box of clothes regrettably too small.
They hide in the sweet sweatiness of my five year old grandson,
Deep in the fur of my fat cat, Shadow,
And in the purr of sleek, shy Idgy.

Memories hide
in tapioca pudding more often than grapenut pudding,
but rarely in broccoli.
They hide in a tube of lipstick in the glove compartment
of the Volks squareback from my hippie years.

On second thought
I needn’t hold so tightly to each memory.
It takes a village, you know, to raise a memory child.
Open your hands, my family, my friends,
palms up
I offer you my memories
on scraps of paper,
in rumpled envelopes,
in blurred photographs tied with leftover Christmas ribbons
or not.

I sprinkle memories over your shoulders
snatches of conversations, stories, and poems,
fragrant seasonings from my life,
flavoring yours.

Memories that linger I blow your way
Across a room, across a life,
Fragile memory bubbles in a fragile world,
Floating to you with my fervent wish
that you will keep them alive……….for me.

  One Response to “Memories”

  1. Love the poem. Makes me want to cry but at the same time is like music to my ears. Thank you.

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