One Out of Three of Us
Carl Sandburg unknowingly poetically
described your Alzheimer’s arrival
that began with names and dates
slipping into the early morning mist;
next came identities of family and friends
devoured in that impenetrable fog…
then your bathroom mirror clouded over.
That day when I came to visit,
you were in bed napping peacefully.
Wordlessly watching you, I recalled
the good times we’d shared thinking,
“No better way to remember you
than now as you are peacefully asleep,
instead of awake with your empty eyes
staring at me as just another bedside stranger.”
The gods couldn’t conceive a greater tragedy,
than living half-alive with a fogbound brain,
unable to recognize those you love,
memories gone of how to eat, walk and talk…
and U.S. Census listed as “Among the Living Dead.”
‘Till finally years long overdue—death came
on little cat feet and quietly you slipped away.
Your obituary read “No wake.” Indeed,
you’ve been prematurely waked for years.
Rest in…your memories indelibly restored.
Of today’s seniors, 1 out of 3 will die with Alzheimer’s or dementia! Over 5 million Americans have already died with one of these diseases. That’s an increase of 70 percent since the year 2000, and that number will increase to 14 million by 2050!
Such narrow odds—1 out of 3! Pause and remember. Remember what? Recall anything: your telephone number, your middle name or your place of birth. Then rejoice with ultimate gratitude for your ability to recollect. Your memory is a bottomless treasury of happiness, even though it’s as fragile as a little bird you could hold in your hands. Imagine opening your hands so that the bird can fly away, and contemplate these words of Russian author Maxim Gorky: “Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go and you learn at once how big and precious it is.”