One of the difficult tasks in caring for loved ones with dementia comes that moment when his car keys must be taken away.
I’ve announced this more than once after moving to CA: Take my car keys away and become my chauffeur. I come from an island where all the directions needed are “Go Up…Go Down…meaning Go Makai ( toward the sea) or Go Mauka ( toward the Mountain.) I still don’t know East, West, North or South and I fear freeways as I do snakes. So when driving becomes an issue in care giving, I wish I could transfer my willingness to give up my keys to those who feel driving is part of who they are. Here, I put myself in their shoes.
A Thief By Another Name
It was the most exhilarating feeling
When at age 16 I got the key
To the family car and drove solo
All over town through traffic lights,
To country roads and back to home
Where trust was given with license.
Since then, each time I fit that key
Into the ignition and turn it right,
And hear the hum of the engine,
I get to relive that same golden moment
Of 70 years ago.
A moment of complete freedom
As I take complete control of a vehicle,
Freedom to turn right or left,
Freedom to exceed the speed limit or otherwise.
So many decisions, decisions I am able to make
Because with this key, I am also given
My own dignity! My own capability!
My own manhood! My independence!
With no one telling me
What to do, where to go, how to go.
To be the owner of that one key.
The wonder of this freedom
Is one needs to be alone.
One passenger, just one passenger
Takes half of this freedom away.
The AC, speed limit, routes to different places,
They all become half of yours.
When there is but one passenger.
Ah yes, one needs to be alone
Alone behind the wheel.
With a tank full of gas
And somewhere to go.
Today my key was taken from me.
From Mosaic Moon
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