Hand in Hand

the first time we walked together
we got lost
the perfect path
to knowing each other

she never complained
simply smiled
marveled at flowers and bird
held my hand

trusted

we’ve walked on
through mountain meadows
singing with bees and butterflies
dancing barefoot on foggy beaches
gleefully splashing in the waves
hiding under an umbrella in Spring rain
sampling strawberries at the Farmers’ Market
gossiping with passing neighbors
skipping to the grocery store
plopping onto our favorite bench

hand in hand

we walk on

 

tio stib

2019

You might also enjoy:  The Walk to Paradise Garden; Life Journey Poems & Prose

My Dementia Diary 89 – How to Love a Monster

At 7 a.m. this morning, my normally angelic wife turned into a she devil. For whatever reason, the meds which have kept her mind calm for days, stopped working. suddenly she was agitated, paranoid, confused and the only thing she wanted was to go see her mom, the mom who lives one thousand miles away in Mexico.

And I was blocking her escape, standing in front of the door, keeping her from running outside into the cold, rainy morning.

She erupted, screamed for her mother to help her, started pounding on me. I bit my tongue, remained passive yet firmly in front of the door, finally wrapping my arms around her and flooding her head with calming words. She is quite strong, especially in an agitated state, and it was all I could do to hold her firm until she slowly began to relax.

I let her go and she fumed and ranted about the apartment, finally breaking into sobs and tears. I gently guided her to the sofa and we sat beside each other as I held her close. 

Eventually, she was calm enough for me to suggest we go for a walk, which she agreed to. I’ve found that a complete change of environments is the only sure way to flip her mind from a troubled to a peaceful state.

While walking, she asked me if she was a bad person.

“No, you’re beautiful and loving.”

But as I said these words, I remembered the pain and anguish of her morning outburst.

It is very hard to love a monster, but love is the only way to make this journey.

tio stib

You might also enjoy: Sometimes She Knows; My Dementia Diary

First Snow

first snow
white oblivion
whispers
to sleeping earth

hush…

let go
frantic mind
surrender

hush…

forgive your past
your sins
your separation

hush…

a blanket
of serenity

hush

white oblivion
cuddles me
in love’s eternity

first snow
melts,
drips
slowly
down the face
of my soul

hush…

Tio Stib

2014, 2019

You might also enjoy: A Mirrored SmileLife Journey Poems & Prose

High on Gratitude

in the muck of news’ day platitudes
I’ve lost my cheery attitude
midst hate and anger screamed and spewed
what happened to beatitudes

but past these ugly, mindless feuds
beyond behavior simply rude
there is another world that can be viewed
in Nature’s holy latitude

in this world outside our doors
flowers dance, birds sing, and oceans roar
a world that heeds not human news
where souls soar high on gratitude

You might also enjoy: Morning Bliss; Life Journey Poems & Prose

Tio Stib

2016, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night Walk

as comets streak cross galaxies
I dance down a puddled street
splashing through a sea of stars
reflections wet my feet

I walk past lamp lit skeletons
their leaves now lost and drowned
and wonder on this winter night
where can truth be found

Tio Stib

2014, 2019

You might also enjoy: Mystery Game; Life Journey Poems & Prose

My Dementia Diary 88 – Our Tightrope

Each day, my wife and I do our dance across an emotional tightrope. the goal is to get all the way across during the day, and then all the way back during the night, all the way without falling. 

These two cycles are based on the effectiveness of her day and night medications. When the little pills do their magic, the dance is relatively easy, she’s in a good mood or tired and she’s easy to lead. But, dancing on an emotional tightrope is precarious. There is little room for error. If I say the wrong words, do something that her mind takes negatively, break the routine that she’s come to expect, she is suddenly off balance, agitated, instantly filled with fear and often belligerent and aggressive.

Once this chain of behaviors begins, I can’t stop it.

We fall.

We fall and crash. There is no safety net. She becomes a person I do not know and I become a husband doing his best to stay calm and reassuring, keeping her from hurting herself, all the time beating myself up for whatever I did to trigger the pain she is going through. 

We never recover quickly from these falls. Sometimes it takes thirty minutes, sometimes an hour, sometimes half the night. She slowly becomes more tranquil, quiet, peaceful. Eventually she will reach out and say she loves me.

I hold her tight and say, “I love you.!

Then we climb back onto our tightrope and start the dance again.

Growing up, I never once thought about running away to join the circus.

The circus, though, seems to have found me.

tio stib

You might also enjoy: This Child Who Once Was Woman; My Dementia Diary

 

 

Lumpy Gravy, Thoughts on Writing Well

I’m working on the rewrite of a chapter in a new book and in spite of hours of effort, when I pause to listen to what I’ve written, it sounds like lumpy gravy.

Yes, I realize that gravy doesn’t talk, sing, or make any other noise, but it still seems the perfect metaphor for my imperfect words. In case you’re not familiar with gravy and, in particular, lumpy gravy, a brief description-

Gravy is a sauce made from cooked meat juices, stock, and other ingredients. One ingredient is flour, which is used to thicken the sauce. When the flour is added incorrectly, the result is lumpy gravy, little balls of unmixed flour in the sauce, a culinary no-no. Like good writing, I believe creating good gravy, a sumptuously smooth sauce, is a combination of rigorous practicality and delicate art.

My own experience is that lumpy gravy usually results from hurrying, compromising time and care because of impatience, setting an unrealistic timeline for creating something that simply cannot be rushed. There is a proper order and way to add and mix ingredients. don’t do this and you get lumps.

what are the lumps in my writing? Words and phrases that don’t sound right, feel out of place, don’t fit the desired style, don’t truly support the theme. Adverbs and adjectives that were easy to insert but, upon reflection, don’t add anything. 

What I write seldom comes out smooth and lump free the first time. Admittedly, I rarely succeed at creating lump free gravy either. In cooking, there are two ways to fix this, stir or whisk much more, or, something few will admit to, strain the gravy through a sieve to remove the lumps. 

This is what rewriting is all about, the writer’s process of removing the lumps from his work through careful consideration, in my case, listening as I can’t see what I’ve written. Often I brainstorm words, sentences, even paragraphs. with the magic power of today’s word processing technology and my text reader friend, Alex voiceOver, I can quickly try and listen to many options, until I hear something that is smooth and feels right. And on I move to the next paragraph.

Ultimately, I’m the cook in my word kitchen and I know, that unless what I’ve written passes my taste test, unless I’ve taken the time, done the work, to make perfect, lump free, gravy, those words can’t leave the kitchen.

tio stib

2018, 2019

You might also enjoy: Writing Well