Do You Remember?


Photo: glsp.org

Photo: glsp.org

Do you remember,

soon after Grandma turned ninety,
you and Uncle Roger put her in a nursing home?

The year before her vision began to blur.
You took away her driver’s license and National Geographics—
plunked her in front of TV. She thought the gal in the soap opera,
the one with silver hair, was having an affair with Granddaddy
who’d been dead sixteen years already.

Every Saturday, about 5 PM, while I fed your dog,
I heard you phone Aunt Tillie in the Bronx
and tell her Grandma wouldn’t eat, but at least she didn’t have a bedsore.
It was when she forgot your name that you stopped your weekly visits.
That was the week before you took some of her money
and left the country on a cruise to the Galapagos.
You said to pray she wouldn’t die till you got back.

When you did drop by, you’d syringe some food into her droopy mouth,
watch her spit it out then choke back your own breakfast.

After you left the facility, you’d hurry home,
change your clothes and go golfing.
Afterward, would you stop off to have a drink
and spend some time nursing guilt?
How often did you awaken during the night and wonder when?

Do you remember?

Based on my memories of nursing in Long Term Care—sadly.

Written for dVerse Meeting the Bar where I’m pleased to be hosting dialogue poetry. This has been a crazy week for me, so I’d also like to give a nod to the prompt on Tuesday–about forgetting. Please stop by with a poem that includes dialogue between people. The listener may be implied, as I’ve chosen to do. More info over at the pub!

On the 12th, 13th and 14th, my novel, “The Sin of His Father,” will be offered as a Kindle Give Away. I would be grateful if you will support me in getting out the message of forgiveness–the underlying theme of this story.

 

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28 thoughts on “Do You Remember?

  1. As a society we are known for how we care for our weak and vulnerable. Great post.

    Like

  2. inc says:

    Reblogged this on inc mail.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. inc says:

    Oh, goodness. This one reminds me of my sis telling me that we’d never put our parents in a nursing home. Cuz they just leave them there and not spend any time with them, she said. She works as an RN in Los Angeles and has many patients who come in for having too many serious conditions of bed sores because they hadn’t been turned over and moved in their beds, in order to prevent that from happening. Their bed sores are sometimes “to the bone”, she’d tell me. Oh, how I’d feel so sorry for them. Just breaks my heart. Thanks for sharing this very important post and message.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. anna mosca says:

    It hit home. I live with a 87 years old aunt with serious alzhaimer. Me and my 81 years old mom care for her 24/7. Her blood family is existent but choose to do nothing at all for her. So sad and so heartbreaking.

    Like

  5. My grandmother waited almost 5 years to be placed in a good nursing home and was just moved this week from what they called “interim” placement. We are still looking into the reasons why it took so long.
    I really like how you framed your poem with “Do you remember?”..which eludes to a deeper question of consciousness.

    Like

  6. lynn__ says:

    Excellent prompt and gut-wrenching dialogue poem, Victoria. A generation ago families would care for them at home…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Truly heart-breaking. You’ve brought out the decline, helplessness, guilt, callousness very well. With each passing generation, I think aged care is becoming less and less of a priority.

    Like

  8. Sumana Roy says:

    this is heartbreaking and life seems to be made of some hard unpalatable truths…sigh…

    Like

  9. Truedessa says:

    This reminded me of my Grandmother and the day I visited her in a nursing home on 911. Your book looks interesting and carries a meaningful message.

    Like

  10. kaykuala h says:

    It is sad that such an episode can happen. It just isn’t fair! Fairness is obviously so elusive in life!

    Hank

    Like

  11. So sad as we drift away.. are lost.. and no one attempts to find us anymore… but so true.. that so many people live in this place now.. young and old.. where only the wings are heard.. as shuffling feet go by..

    I know this place all too well..

    there is no age limit

    to loneliness..

    and the loss
    of humanity..
    by nature
    and cultural
    unwitting design..
    most sadly of all
    TOTALLY PREVENTABLE IN MANY CASES
    for those who will hear the simple cures of being human
    and no.. i’m not kidding move.. connect.. and create.. or just lose it….
    sooner and
    sooner
    rather than later
    and later..
    there are
    no smart
    phones
    that work
    in
    some
    places
    where the
    human heArt goes…

    Like

  12. Grace says:

    A heart breaking story Victoria but I have seen some of those dark times myself with my other friends and relatives ~ Thanks for a lovely example and for it tying it up to our Tuesday prompt ~

    Like

  13. Ayala says:

    Heartbreaking! So sad .

    Like

  14. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    This is so sad.. its a common story which takes place in almost every household.. when one grows old.. why do we fear? Resist from pulling them too near… 😦

    Like

  15. Your books look wonderful, Victoria. The theme of forgiveness is such an important one. I so related to this poem. My grandma spent years in a nursing “home”, which was never her home. She so hated it.

    Like

  16. Glenn Buttkus says:

    My mother-in-law just passed away at 90, still lived alone in her own home, had just got to the point where nurses & housekeepers were going to have regular visits. Visiting nursing homes, hospitals, & such is difficult emotionally, but love dictates we do it, paying it forward for when we might have to take up residency ourselves.

    Like

  17. kanzensakura says:

    This breaks my heart. Too many times, when they are no longer “useful” or decorative or conversational or whatever is convenient, people get shunted aside, the bare minimum done for them just to stave away guilt. My mother has Alzheimer’s but can still get around…carefully. She still knows me and that is my saving grace in it all. And that she knows how dearly I love her.

    Like

  18. scillagrace says:

    Terry’s post over at the Bardo page is about presence, listening, and noticing. What a gift to give another person: your full attention and time. This is a good illustration of how it is when that doesn’t happen.

    Like

  19. Mary says:

    How very tragic, but oh so real. I have been a ‘caring visitor’ for church and had occasion to spend time in nursing homes, and I always wonder…just wonder…how many situations like this there are. The situation you have written rings true, gives the reader a gut punch with its vivid language. Makes me hope I never end up in such a place.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. X says:

    Oy, its a bit stomach twisting. We are going through it with my grandmother. After her last fall she just cant live on her own. It is hard to watch the decline of someone you love. But neglect is rampant as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Your words touched my heart, as I know only too well of what you write. So heartbreaking. 😥

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This is sad.. you are filled with guilt, but to see your mother wane like that it’s so hard. My mother is not yet there.. but it’s going too quick, and she lives in another town.. and yes I do remember.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fortunately, this is not about my mother, but about patients I have cared for in the past…it’s a collage of things I witness in long term care. My mother is fortunate to be cared for in her home. It’s tough only that she’s 500 miles away but I do see her often and talk every few days. It is hard to see her so diminished.

      Like

  23. A heartbreaking story which probably occurs everywhere, every day.
    It’s all too close to home for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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