I don’t see it in the clear blue sky romping gaily on my way no hints, no thoughts, no memories just a perfect day but then a shadow passes by and suddenly I give a sigh and darkness sweeps across my soul and loneliness exacts its toll tio stib You might also enjoy: Life Journey Poems & Prose; My Dementia Diary
During times of emotional darkness, I am often blessed with a connection to something inspirational. I was recently given such a gift, a video of Andrea Bocelli singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with his young daughter, Virginia. The magic of a father and daughter making such glorious music together brought me to tears. I am once again reminded that we humans can create wondrous beauty.hugs! tio stib You might also enjoy: “If,” “The Speed of Love”
yours was a gift I could not see
a quiet heart that treasured me
a smile that always answered
a voice that offered no duress
a strength that ever held my hand
my buddy in the promised land
a care that never questioned why
a child’s grace that could not lie
you gave a gift that I now know
was purer than new fallen snow
that laughed with joy
and danced as we
flew with butterflies
and sailed dreams’ seas
then came the day
and you were gone
and tears drowned out what once was song
and lonely months slipped into years
to emptiness that no one hears
but as I walk the silent shore
I hold your hand in mine once more
I clutch the feeling in my heart
a memory lost to view
that precious gift you gave to me
I was loved by you
most think the challenge of climbing mountains
is reaching the top
pushing past fear
step by step
to finally stand victorious
in the rare air
above the clouds of ordinary being
surrounded by distant views
of unclaimed summits
with each descending step
the real work begins
returning to the valley of everyday existence
the spirit begins to shrink
for it can no longer be fed
by ordinary life
the real challenge of climbing mountains
is never surrendering the summits of our dreams
to stand alone
bold and free
with only mountaintops
2016, 2019, 2020
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling, 1895
Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)
When I’m down and feeling sorry for myself, “If” is one of the poems I return to for inspiration. Here are YouTube links to great readings of this poem, the first by Holly Musgrove, the second by Sir Michael Caine-
“If” read by Holly Musgrove
“If” read by Sir Michael Caine
Life is a gift and a responsibility. Let’s make the most of it!
the first time we walked together
we got lost
the perfect path
to knowing each other
she never complained
marveled at flowers and bird
held my hand
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
River of Words
my life floats down a river of words
on paragraphs, syllables, tales once heard
they call out as I drift by
love and pain, both truth and lies
a stolid “no.”
the overused, unhelpful “so”
“I’ll be there”
“I don’t care”
“how can I think?”
“have you ever seen the sky so pink?”
the words speed up
the rapids roar
fearful sounds from times before
then I’m lost and swept away
chaos and cacophony
gulping right and spitting wrong
gasping as I’m thrown along
shouting voices, “me! me! me!”
then bashed on conflict’s argument
my heart gives out
my soul is spent
in drowning plight
I see a dove
one final thought
the verbal roar falls far behind
consciousness comes back to mind
as grace, sweet heaven, sets me free
and quiet waters welcome me
my life floats down a river of words
heading towards a voice unheard
yet whispers on the waves call me
“you can, dear one, you can be free”
We keep downshifting through activities as my wife’s mental ability to entertain herself continues to diminish. Once, she enjoyed painting vivid abstracts and would do this for days. When that became too complicated she moved to coloring books. As her coloring projects no longer lasts more than a few minutes, it was time for something new.
Enter “FaceTime Karaoke.”
No, this is not a term you will find on Wikipedia because I made it up. It involves a video call with one of our kids with the addition of another device playing Mexican pop tunes. My wife immediately bursts out singing, and this impromptu concert goes on and on. It’s amazing how she seems to remember every song.
Music therapy is nothing new for dementia patients, rather, it’s recommended. For some reason, yet to be explained, Alzheimer’s destroys many parts of the brain but skips the part that stores and remembers music. Some reason this is because music is a complex array of sounds and emotions stored in a unique place. All I know is that my wife can’t think rationally or remember what she had for breakfast but when she hears those songs she learned fifty years ago, music erupts joyfully from her mouth.
Score one for technology, which allows us to connect intimately with family in far away places, sharing the fun and memories of songs they grew up with.
Yes, I’m careful to add nothing more than a little background percussion as it has been noted that my voice would embarrass a drunken frog.
I offer the following words from Mother Teresa as a source of inspiration in difficult moments-
for children in Calcutta:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa. It is thought to have been based on “The Paradoxical Commandments” by Dr. Kent Keith.
On our daily walks, she greets everyone with a smile and “good morning!” She is even more exuberant with children and babies in strollers, stooping to wave at them and babble excitedly in a combination of Spanish, English, and otherwise unintelligible, but happy, sounds.
The response is mixed. Most return the exuberant greetings, but some respond with silence. I can hear their minds whirring.
“Who is this crazy woman?”
I’m sure the awkwardness is not helped by my presence nearby, a blind guy poking about with a white cane.
Although most kids are understandably shy when confronted by strangers, my wife’s wholehearted delight in meting them usually melts their fears away and she often ends up slapping hands with high fives before we go our separate ways.
And I’m reminded to let go any fears of embarrassment and simply enjoy life in the company of an angel.
You might also enjoy: My Dementia Diary 53 – The Walk to Paradise Garden, My Dementia Diary