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Archive for the ‘sexuality in Alzheimer’s’ Category

WHEN I AM OLD

by Frances H. Kakugawa

 

When I am old, my dearest,

Bring me no flannel nightgowns.

Long-sleeved with buttons up to my chin,

House slippers lined with flannel.

Whoever told you old is cold

Ought to be hung up from an oak.

 

Let me feel once again that red spaghetti strap of

A negligee falling off my shoulders,

As I lay in bed between satin sheets.

(Maybe not satin, as I could easily slip to the floor.)

Let me feel that cold oak floor under my feet.

I want to feel! I’m not dead yet, you know.

 

Come sit with me, even if the cat’s got my tongue.

Just sit and read or do what you enjoy most.

Sharing oxygen in silence brings far more joy

Than a Q&A on what I had for breakfast

Or a game to jump start my memory.

Ah, memory. How I detest that word.

 

But listen. Since I don’t plan to be old,

Delete this poem and let us just be.

Tell me a joke, take me to the mall,

Bring me a red rose, or simply sneak in

A glass of rosé. And laugh with me

For no reason at all, as we sip

Together in our Happy Hour.

 

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How many letters have you written that were never sent? This is one of those letters.It’s not dated but it must have been written before 2002, the date of my mother’s death. I found this today, while searching for a poem. It’s time someone else read this.

Dear John,

I went walking this morning in 45 degrees temperature. The trees looked as though someone had taken paint brushes to all the leaves. Red, yellow, orange and golden brown.  I thought of that poem I had written about you once, called Spring in Autumn. I remember writing that poem soon after we had met. And here, it is Autumn again.

 

We met for the first time at the Alzheimer’s office . Jody brought you in to our support group for caregivers. There were other women in the room but you looked at me with your blue blue eyes and said, “You have a beautiful smile” and continued to look at me.  At that moment, I became a woman, not a tired, isolated caregiver for my mother  who felt my life was scattered on the floor, a thousand piece puzzle,  because you used the word “beautiful” on me.

 

I leaned toward you and said, “Does that come with a kiss,” and you kissed me on my cheek, somehow knowing a great flirtation had just begun. And so it was with  both of us. Whenever we saw each other, you greeted me as a man would with a beautiful woman. It didn’t matter that you were slowly losing your self to Alzheimer’s disease. It didn’t matter that I was slowly displaying more wrinkles on my face.There was that part of you that stayed intact for the sake of me. “You have a beautiful smile. You are beautiful. ” And when words no longer became your mode of expression, you continued to tell me how beautiful I was with your smile and your eyes.

 

I thought of you on my walk this morning. No matter what season, you will always be Spring. Spring, when suddenly without warning, leaves begin to show their faces on bare branches. Spring, when long winters make us forget beneath all the  cold black and white, there is life. Spring. You were always Spring. I wish you peace and I thank you, dear John of the blue blue eyes. Thank you for flirting with me.

With love, frances

 

 

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