Sunday, March 9, 2008

As the Darkness Falls

Speaking last night with a friend whose mother is slipping into dementia, I was reminded of times I spent with a college friend who fell prey to this insidious illness. And this morning, looking through my pictures for something to adorn a blog, I saw this puzzling scene, taken yesterday with a storm cloud lowering, a tree full of twittering birds and one brilliant shot of light -- as well as a puzzling spherical object in the foreground. I almost deleted the picture but then I realized that it was a good representation of a confused mind with the darkness closing in.

And I offer to you -- hoping all the while that you'll never need it, this poem that floated across the internet some time back.

Do not discuss me as if I am not present
My mind is foggy, but my heart is clear.
Do not resent my frequent questions.
I am scared and confused. Your answers slip from my desperate grasp.
Do not stop loving me because my actions are inappropriate.
Use patience and kindness to remind me of my manners for they have disappeared with other fragments of my mind.
Do not resent my frequent pacing or attempts to “go home.”
This is not my home. Nothing here is familiar or reassuring. If only I could go home, I would surely find my memory there.
Do not remind me of my recent hurts.
I do not recall that my mate has passed or my house burned to the ground.

Do not speak to me as a child.
I have a lifetime of experiences despite my childlike ways.
Remind me of your name and the place you hold in my life.
I would love to recall, for I feel your love and kindness.
Show me the world – nature, music, art – for I have forgotten the amazing joy it holds.
Allow me to use the tools that remain, to hammer out my mark and unwrench my heart.
Forgive me for my imperfect past;
If only I remembered, I would surely apologize.
You need not fill our time with many words.
Your presence helps fill my void.
The blame does not lie with you or me.
Love me for who I am now and the person I used to be.
J. Al-hafez
June 1997
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