• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
on alzheimer’s. . .

on alzheimer’s. . .

David’s mom was diagnosed with Alzheimers 3 years ago, and last night she forgot how to walk. The ocean expanded in those moments on the phone. So last night, Annabelle packed David’s bag while I talked to Sandra, and he made a mad dash for a midnight plane in Nairobi to go walk a bit of this journey right beside his sister. So, as we go into mother’s day weekend, he will sit quietly with his mom, who months ago forgot she has children, and continue in this long goodbye.

Poem he wrote last week about this journey:

in the land of the parting

Parting with you is endless.

I wait for the phone call.

Best case:

mischief managed,

escape thwarted,

shower sorted,

new sheets on the old bed,

new socks on tired feet.

In the ceaseless today

you try to buy your way

back to Mississippi,

back to a time and place

before the departure of (in sequential order)








Your mind broke

when each love departed

like an iceberg sloughing off

into freezing waters.

Eventually you cast off living

sons and daughters,

travelled to the land of the parting.

Fragmented memories swirl around you.

Images, not misty as in films,

clear in your mind as the day they occurred.

Maybe moreso, as they are

devoid of hope, expectation, plans,

untainted by ulterior motives,

unclouded by feelings.

Memories are real, pure.

Memories simply are.

In them, you are completely present.

In memory, the dead are not dead to you.

They are alive, eager, waiting.

You don’t realize you visit them.

You dip your fingertip, your toe,

into the water of eternity.

They wait patiently –

open arms, outstretched palms,

for you to take the plunge.

When you wish to abandon

the time-machine machinations

of mortality seeking to grasp infinity

and enter their world completely,

they will be ready. Waiting.

1 thought on “on alzheimer’s. . .

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      Praying for David and you as you manage this complicated leave-taking. My heart aches as I taste the reality of living this out knowing each encounter eats a bit of your capacity. Trusting, just as was true with your Grandma Betty, that God will provide the next step of care and, though drained, you will have what you need to endure. Sending hugs across the miles!

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