Wednesday, November 12, 2014

a space in which to mourn

The road marked Dementia has been one we've been on for years. It's run down and covered in spiky shrubbery that implants right in that sensitive spot in the middle of one's shin. For years, we've trudged along, hand supporting hand, heart tangled in heart, waiting for that moment it dead ends into that place called Death.

We move, aimlessly, spinning in circles and disorienting ourselves until the path becomes clear all over again. We follow his lead -though he's unaware of his leadership- sometimes heavy in his wake, sometimes lightly skipping beside him. 

We've spent years visiting, gently holding his hands, moving together through the halls and the gardens. We let him babble on, pretending to hold a conversation with non-words.

That is until the visit where he seemed to be stopped mid-journey, mid-path. He was stopped, he laid, and he slept. As we entered the room I heard his soft snores, they said slumber, slumber sweet soul. And I cried. I laughed and I cried and a noise unrecognizable escaped my lips. 

I turned to see Jason there, to remind myself he's present. He stares at me -trying to glean what happens next. I cover my face, head bowed, as the snores remind me he's alive despite what I see. A dozen drops of salty sadness before my arms itch for purpose. I rifle through drawers trying to match up his shoes, to find that hat my mom mentioned was missing. 

The snores fill the room despite all the commotion outside. I hear them and thank God he's some kind of alive. Outside, I need out, I need sun and the garden. My legs want some space that this room doesn't offer. So I touch him, I rub his sternum softly and beg him to wake. He snores. 

I rub with more effort, his eyes crack and there they are the color of the sky. Lunch, I tell him, food, good and warm. A faint smile, then snores. More snores. All that movement must be exhausting, we agree. Continuous physical effort wears even the healthiest soul down.

He sleeps. And we wait suddenly large in the small room. Outside, I need out. So we go, just Jason and I, out under the sun, around the green grounds, comforted simply by the walking sounds of the other. We walk the grounds without him, sit, talk, suddenly mourn. 

We try to wake him again. Two more times in fact. No luck. Some words, babbles, and then snores. He's exhausted, no surprise, and, in fact, so are we. We tell him goodbye, that we love him, that it's all going to be okay with him. I gently squeeze the thin, wiry hand. 

We load in the car, realizing we've been there for over an hour. Our bodies aren't tired. But oh our dear hearts. It is then I realize grief needs stillness and space to dance upon the bits and pieces of your broken heart.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

There are no words for the way I miss you or how much of life you've taught me in my 25 (and a half) years. There is no way to tell you how far your ripples spread in this big pond. 

Words cannot do it justice Popsicle. Not even mark a scratch on that immense and concrete-hard surface. Instead, I will show you all the days of my life.



  1. Reading bits and pieces of your struggle But the way you cope and process it all is beautiful. I never know quite what to say. Internet hugs and all the other warm and comforting things.

  2. Thank you, as always, for shedding a bright light on such a difficult and sad journey. I know that people everywhere benefit because you speak, you feel, and ultimately, you write. Good job friend.


  3. my dear, dear lady.
    you are oh so eloquent in your words and your brightness shines through.

  4. and once again, you put into words the emotions i feel. our situations are different, but yet the emotions so similar. thank you for your graceful description of the mourning. my heart hurts for you, and i wish this was all easier.

  5. I'm glad you warned us that this post would be a tearjerker. Here i sit, with some Kleenex, begging God to give us answers to why this happens...why He allows our loved ones to be stricken with illness and takes them away from us. It just breaks my heart over and over. I sure love these words, as painful and haunting and emotional as they are. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into this world, sweet girl.

  6. Katie @ A Beautiful Little AdvNovember 12, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    I can only imagine how heavy and loud those snoring sounds must have felt on your heart. Both silence and heart breakingly loud at the same time. As always, you do a beautiful job at expressing your overwhelming emotions and sharing your story.

  7. Reading this, oh how it breaks my heart and causes silent weeping. Your words, your strength, your mourning. It is all beautiful.

  8. Tears. Dementia is a cruel, cruel being. I'm so sorry that you and your family have to go through this... the love that you have for your father is so powerful.

  9. My dearest Amber, it touches my heart to see how much you have strength for your Pop. It gives me faith in knowing that love exists and that hope shall never be surrendered. I pray daily for those who need His love and strength. Please know you and your family are always in my prayers. -Lena


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