Moments–Monday Meanderings

I’m sure you haven’t noticed, but I’ve been offline for a few days. I’m in Huntington Beach, celebrating my Mom’s 93rd birthday. Her dementia has worsened since I last saw her, but she remains aware of us as a family. She is perhaps the most grateful, serene woman I know–due in part, perhaps, to the fact that she has been sober for 44 years. The lessons of her Twelve Step program stay with her, especially “An attitude of gratitude,” and “A day at a time.” I am not violating her anonymity by sharing this. She is the first to let the world know about how much she owes to AA.

I would like to have the sort of attitude that she has when I (if I) live to be 90…although I would prefer to bypass the dementia part. Having worked with the elderly most of my nursing career, I’m aware that this horrible disease brings some gifts to the person afflicted and to the caregivers as well. It’s all about living in the present moment. I remember instructing nursing assistants, reminding them that their patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s and similar disorders may not be able to connect the past and the present, but as caregivers, we are able to provide them with one happy moment at a time.

This is a good recipe for all of us, don’t you agree? It seems to be something I try to hold on to as I go through my own aging process.

I’m “borrowing” a computer to write this as there is no available unsecured WiFi in the area, so this will be a short one.

I wish all of you a most happy and productive week. I should be back in the flow by midweek.

Big Tent Poetry–“Horror”

Horror

Somewhere within
it lingers—
that word you’ve known forever.
You descend into
the murky void
and grope.

Somewhere inside
in a corner
of your mind
a spider weaves
its tangled webs.

You know a monster lurks
down deep,
in shadowy crevices.
If you cannot
escape,
what happens next?

Someday,
will you forget
my name as well,
or lose your way, or
not remember who you are?

Submitted to Big Tent Poetry. This week’s theme is “something scarey.” Check it out at http://bigtentpoetry.org/2010/10/come-one-come-all-october-22/

Writers, READ!

Every writer knows the importance of reading and the impact it has on our own skills. Because I write literary fiction, I gravitate towards the same in my reading choices. However, I’ve discovered that it’s critical to pay attention to what is going on in my life at the moment and plunge into different genres to acheive some sort of balance.

Here’s an example. Last night, I began to read the novel “Still Alice,” by Lisa Genova. Beautifully written and intense, it’s the fictional story of a brilliant woman’s descent into dementia. The reading group I attend here in the desert will discuss it at April’s meeting. However,I don’t know if I have the psychic energy to continue. Although I’ve worked with dementia my entire nursing career and have, myself, written a flash fiction piece from the first person point of view of a woman with dementia, I am immersed in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s–my 89 year old mother.
How different it is on this side of the street! I’m not sure I can bear the sadness.

I know that, down the road, “Still Alice” will remain on my reading agenda–maybe even before that next book club meeting. More than likely, I’ll offer it as my suggestion for my Reno book club. In the meantime, I have to listen to my inner self. Tonight I’ll download something mindless. I enjoy a good mystery now and again. Rarely, a romance. It’s important to read great writing to enhance our own skills, but even when it’s less than stellar–isn’t it fun to critique?

Love (in the True Sense of the Word) Poem

Our writing springs from our lives. As a nurse, I dealt, for the most part, with the elderly and dying. Many of my patients had Alzheimer’s or similar forms of dementia. When I participated in the PAD Poetry Challenge, one of the prompts was to write a love poem. This one didn’t make my final cut, but I thought I’d put it out there. Real love endures all the many losses associated with aging.

“Sweet Romance”

I can’t forget those eyes–
silver-blue like
meadow flowers
that looked into mine,
pierced my soul.

Your touch,
velvet smooth,
sparked shivers,
fire in the core of my body.

The heady scent,
lily of the valley,
flooded the room
when you walked in.

Sweet as honey,
the taste of you
lingers.

Flowing from your lips
each word you spoke hangs
like a note of music
fills my head
with haunting melody.

Where do you hide?
Your body a husk
of who you used to be.
You finger the fringe of
a shawl wrapped around
fragile shoulders.
You look at me
but don’t remember
who I am.