To Have and To Hold

She doesn’t want to let me go –
it’s in the blood.

Like cells, we divide,
move apart;
couple up with others,
and revel in the familiar
of an original template:

Our mother is leaving us,
hysterical now with dementia.
It’s fun to watch her laugh,
as we know the other side:
disgust, apprehension,
downright terror.

We ourselves are dead or dying,
as one by one
she picks us off
like fleas irritating
a mind tossing darts
at her imminent demise.

When this passes –
and it will –
we will expand our love
to fill the void;
let it seep into the spectrum
of children, spouses, selves.

Affection and endearment
are ours to have and to hold,
from that day forward –
until we, too,
shed these precious skins
and flow back into pure light.



6 thoughts on “To Have and To Hold

  1. This is so appropriate for mother’s day but it’s definitely not the usual commercially exploitable, media image of loving family relationships. It reminds me of my step-mother-in-law who has undergone a personality change with vascular dementia. A once bright and thoughtful person, she is now irritable and paranoid. She’s turned her husband into a villain whom she believes tries to discredit her for being forgetful when he is merely looking after her. He’s grieving the loss of the person he’s known as his wife and his best friend. He calls my husband more these days to chat as he has become lonely and an enemy in his own home. We too are included in the increasing list of people who are against her. She projects her fears outward to protect her sense of self. The line, “a mind tossing darts at her imminent demise” rings so true.


    1. Mary Lee, yes, you’ve grasped the gist of what is going on with our mother as well – projecting her fears outward. It’s sad, and we finally had a face-to-face meeting with the hospice nurse tonight – after a horrific demonstration of pure agony – so that they might get the facility to manage her pain meds better. Such good people, hospice.

      I’m sorry to hear about D’s stepmom as well. What strange endings we witness. Death, when it does not come suddenly, tends to shift the skeletons out of the closet and spill them out for all to see. It strengthens my resolve even more to discover as much peace and beauty and joy in this life before that time arrives for me, as it does for us all.

      Blessings, dear one, and thanks as always for your thoughtful comments.


  2. When this passes –
    and it will –
    we will expand our love
    to fill the void;
    let it seep into the spectrum
    of children, spouses, selves.

    It always becomes a memory, doesn’t it? Nothing stays as really real, really tangible. Is this your mother you’re talking about? It must be difficult.


    1. Yes, Priya – as the poem says, our mother is leaving us (dying). And yes, it is difficult to watch her suffer when it seems unnecessary. Pain management is what we work on daily.

      Trusting you, Bartan and Bela are doing well.


      1. We’re doing well, Bela. I read about “Sheila” being the She in the first stanza and wasn’t sure about the relation. Now I know.
        A big hug to give you more of the strength you obviously already have.


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