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Too Soon To Mourn January 3, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, People, Poetry.

170px-Maes_Old_Woman_DozingThey’re already gone
In so many ways that matter

It’s too soon to mourn
They’re still on life’s stage

We sit in the audience
Watching the curtain fall

How much will be left
When nothing is left at all

Of the way they were?

 * * *

A hint:

Aah . . . that’s better!



1. Pix Under the Oaks - January 3, 2015

Good Morning Nancy. I watched the first five minutes of the video and will return to watch the rest this afternoon.. my favorite time to be on the couch and enjoy reading/blogging. My Aunt Margie had Alzheimer’s disease and she was all alone. Her husband died years before and they had no children. We were in D.C. when she was in the end stage. I flew back home when I could. Truly gives me pause for thought. This is the second time I have seen Dana Walrath here at your blog.. I love listening to her.

nrhatch - January 3, 2015

Dana is great, but I don’t remember sharing one of her talks before. Oh, no! Maybe I’m already losing my mind!!! 😛

Ah, well . . . aging = “letting go.”

It’s nature’s way of reminding us to “do what we can with what we have where we are.”

Pix Under the Oaks - January 3, 2015

I am pretty sure I saw her at your blog. Maybe you gave me a link in comments or an email?

nrhatch - January 3, 2015

You might be right, Pix. I did do a quick search of posts and comments and don’t find Dana by name . . . but that proves nothing since her name isn’t in this post except on the video label.

My bad.

2. Hariod Brawn - January 3, 2015

Thank you so much for introducing me to this TED talk Nancy. As Alzheimer’s is something which loomed large in my life at one (extended) point, I found the content very moving. After a lot of research, jumping through administrative hoops, and failed alternatives, I eventually found a place for my father in a rather wonderful specialist home. By this time, he was in the advanced stages of the disease, and had lost verbal coherency entirely.

The question then was one of how to communicate. This home was run along principles set out by Professor Tom Kitwood in his book “Dementia Reconsidered”, and in turn Kitwood borrows ideas from the philosopher Martin Buber. Dana Walrath stresses the value of using visual imagery in communicating with dementia sufferers, and Kitwood too deals with finding alternative means of expression which lend coherency to one whose verbal resources are virtually nil.

Dad had not uttered a coherent word for several weeks as I sat with him turning the pages and showing him pictures of aircraft (he was a pilot). I gave a running commentary about what the aircraft were and so forth, and soon we came across a photo of an Avro Vulcan. I said “Look dad, that’s a Vulcan; you flew one of those didn’t you?” He looked me straight in the eyes, which was very unusual at this stage, smiled, and said “Yes, I did!” This may sound insignificant, but it was a momentous event, and a very moving one too. The experience certainly endorses Walrath’s assertion that graphics are powerful means of communication in such circumstances.

nrhatch - January 3, 2015

The inability to communicate builds up walls ~ it’s great when we discover a window in the wall through which to whisper.

I had a similar experience with my dad in his final week ~> a glimpse and glimmer of who he had been once upon a time.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Hariod.

3. Val Boyko - January 3, 2015

Thank you for this helpful share Nancy. There is so much for us to learn in this area … especially in how to support those closest to us.

nrhatch - January 3, 2015

Agreed. So many areas are impacted when the mind begins to falter ~ memory, behavior, activities, etc.. It’s hard on everyone.

4. thecontentedcrafter - January 3, 2015

We have a family member with Alzheimer’s and I found that talk both inspiring and moving Nancy, thank you!

nrhatch - January 3, 2015

I’m glad you enjoyed the talk, Pauline. I found her sense of humor about the “what is” quite inspiring.

5. Silver in the Barn - January 3, 2015

Nancy, have you read “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova? They’ve just released a movie based on the book. It was a very enlightening book about how this disease impacts both the individual and the family. Your poem is powerful. I’ll take the time to watch the entire video later this evening.

nrhatch - January 3, 2015

Thanks, Barbara. I just added Still Alice (the movie) to my Netflix queue. A movie in a similar vein ~ IRIS, starring Kate Winslet, Hugh Bonneville, Judi Dench:

Iris Murdoch was l’enfant terrible of the literary world in early 1950s Britain — a live wire who thumbed her nose at conformity via a voracious sexual appetite. In this snippet of her life, an aging Murdoch faces the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Silver in the Barn - January 3, 2015

I have to say that I found her books unreadable (which is more a reflection on me than her as I know she was immensely popular.) I simply couldn’t plow my way through. But the idea of that brilliant mind being short-circuited by this dread disease is too terrible to contemplate. I caught bits of this movie on television and simply adore Judi Dench.

nrhatch - January 3, 2015

One more parallel between you and me, Barbara. After watching Iris, I went to the library to familiarize myself with Murdoch’s writing. It held no appeal. Not bad, just not for me.

6. reocochran - January 3, 2015

It is hard to look at deaths and in such a long tribute, although I do feel bad several were far too young… Artists, songwriters, musicians, authors and actors, along with the everyday ones we may have known last year all come to mind… I am off with a grandson to pick up a movie at the library and will hope to stay better connected in the New Year, Nancy!

nrhatch - January 3, 2015

Enjoy connecting with your grandson ~ hope you find the perfect movie to share with him.

7. Jill Weatherholt - January 3, 2015

Thanks for sharing this, Nancy. My mother is in the early stages of dementia…it’s tough. I don’t talk about it on my blog…still too sensitive of an issue for me. I would definitely recommend reading Still Alice. I read it last year…very emotional read if you’ve been touched by the disease.

nrhatch - January 3, 2015

I’m sorry to hear that, Jill. Dementia is tough for all concerned ~ patients, families, and caregivers.

8. Grannymar - January 4, 2015

I have watched many loved ones and friends slip behind the curtain of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. My own granny talked about the man at the foot of the bed and ‘the children’. “He was so good to those children. He never laid a hand on them.” We were children ourselves at the time, but learned early how to deal with illness of all kinds and death – both sudden or long & slow.

nrhatch - January 4, 2015

Sometimes the curtain falls . . . leaving a small gap for us to see in and them to see out. Other times, they are in “La La Land” on their own. Some seem happier than when fully “here.”

My grandmother died when I was 10 of cancer metastasized to the bone. The last time I saw her (in the hospital) she didn’t recognize me as her granddaughter (due to the pain killers). When I said hello, she replied, “my granddaughter has blonde hair just like yours.”

So she remembered me . . . but didn’t recognize me. Odd feeling.

9. Three Well Beings - January 6, 2015

I added the TED talk to my list…I have a TED account and binge watch from time to time. I think you wrote those words preceding the video? They are powerful, Nancy, and very true. I have probably mentioned this before, but I have a friend, my age, in a nursing home. She’s been there for many years already. She “left us” when she was in her very early 50s. And later when diagnosed, I am sure she was leaving long before that. There were many things that didn’t add up, but who expects a friend to have Alzheimer’s while still in their 40s!! Your verse is perfectly descriptive!

nrhatch - January 6, 2015

Yes, the preface is mine . . . but I waited to share those words until I could end the post on a slightly more positive note. Dana’s TED talk adds a lightness of being to the post.

After all, this is Spirit LIGHTS The Way . . . NOT “All Is Doom & Dismal Gloom.” 😎

I’m sorry about your friend. I hated seeing my parents slipping away, but they lived a good life for 75 plus years before they started “losing it.” Developing Alzheimer’s in one’s 40’s seems like robbing the cradle.

There is much of life that I do not understand. Put its inherent unfairness at the TOP of that long list.

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