in the wake of her passing
swirls of memories
only shadows of her smile
only echoes of her laughter
I am lost in quiet
“Where’s your wife?”
The grocery clerks, the drug store help, coffee shop baristas, deli servers, librarians, they all ask the same question. When I return now, alone, to the places we frequented together, they all expect to see the blind guy and his ever cheerful wife.
But she’s not there, so they ask,
“Where’s your wife?”
And I try to answer, tear up, reach out to hold her hand that isn’t there, start crying, because I’m asking the same question,
Where’s my wife?
Sorting through her things, my fingers find a shape I know.
a paper heart
A message from a far off place
I love you!
and there are more
she has left me a trail of hearts
with each new discovery
I hold her close
press her memory to my chest
because paper hearts are not enough
in the smothering silence of her loss
I am smashed into sobbing oblivion
by a tidal wave of grief
where once there were words of joy
sounds of love
the constant patterings of a life truly shared
there is only emptiness
a vast void
a black hole sucking my broken heart into nothingness
drowning in tears
I am swept away
by a river of silence
yet, gasping in eternal loneliness
I hear faint echoes
I love you
I love you
I love you…
I placed it in her hand
the last rose
the last flower
from the summer garden of our life
she touches the petals to her lips
and they drive her away
and she’s gone
oh, how my heart aches for one more kiss
to touch her forehead to my lips
to slowly breathe in the woman
the rose that captivates my soul
but the road is empty now
I’m left alone
wandering a winter garden of memories
Since the day we were married, we’ve always been together, seldom more than a few feet apart, holding hands as we walked into the adventure of life.
I can’t begin to imagine being without her, but we’ve reached a point where she requires constant 24 hour care and I can no longer do this for her by myself.
As the months have drifted by and her dementia has deteriorated, I’ve struggled more and more to meet her increasing needs, particularly at night. Like many Alzheimer’s patients, night time is stressful for her. She is agitated and confused, can’t settle down to sleep, and gets up repeatedly. I arise with her, help her find and use the toilet, guide her back to bed when she attempts to leave to visit her mom, help her change clothes when she must go walking at 3 a.m., and hug her when she’s shaking with fear.
Then I guide her back to bed, tuck her in, rub her feet, kiss her, and eventually she falls asleep, until she wakes again and we repeat the cycle.
By morning light, I’m emotionally and physically exhausted. Strangely, she’s not the least bit tired, eager for our daily walk. And a new day begins. To my amazement, she greets all we encounter cheerfully, while I find myself dreaming of a good night’s sleep.
But the price for this dream scares me, for to make it happen, I must let her go, must release her to be cared for by others. This is a day I knew would come, but it’s a Christmas wish I really don’t want to happen.