That You Remember Me
This is a poem for and about those who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia conditions. This is a a major health concern for our world, our country, and for more and more individuals and families every day.
This was written with my mother-in-law in mind. Marie recently died (about a month ago) at age 93, but she suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease for the last 10-12 years of her life. She was fortunate in that her husband was able to care for her in their home right up to the end. He did an incredible job, and was helped at the end with a wonderful caretaker named Rose.
When Marie was exhibiting more and more symptoms a number of years ago, it made me wonder: in the early stages, people with this condition have many more lucid moments than not, and we noticed that she would catch herself from time to time when she seemed to recognize that she was making a mistake, or that she was not remembering something correctly. Later, she wouldn’t catch herself at all, though she did seem to remember more than we thought, but she just couldn’t express it. It made me think: it’s one thing to think you are losing your ability to remember; it must be worse to think that others may forget you as you start to forget things. And the line came to me:
“Though I might forget you
it’s important that you see
just how much it means to me
that you remember me.”
More research is necessary, and it may take a major commitment on the part of medical organizations and even governments all over the world to try to do whatever can be done to learn to treat and care for these patients, and to work for a cure. And their families will need help too, because the care is essential and it is difficult, and caretakers have a really hard job. It goes beyond memory issues. Many patients are prone to wander, trying to go “home” to find fathers or mothers that have long been dead. Many will eat inappropriate items (non-food). It can be difficult to handle bathroom chores, brush teeth, get them in and out of cars, prevent falls or even keep them from hurting themselves with forks or knives, or almost anything. They have to be watched constantly, and this can be very hard for a spouse who may also be elderly, and who may also have health issues. It ends up involving whole families.
One more word of advice: They resent it when people talk around them as if they are not there. Often Marie could tell that people were talking about her, and sometimes she seemed to be angry or annoyed when she thought people were talking as if she could could not hear or understand them. But often she probably did. Treat them always with the respect they deserve. They might be listening.
I have now made this available for download in 8×10 inch size. You can purchase up to three downloads for $1.99 each, and you can print the poem and insert it into a frame of your choosing. The reason I limit the downloads is because these are gift items, and I want to prevent reselling. You may give these as a gift or show in your home or office, but you may not resell them. Thank you!
To see the download page, click here.
To donate to the Alzheimer’s Foundation, click here.
Copyright Daniel Mark Extrom 2009-2014.