Archive for the ‘change’ Category


My father’s Alzheimer’s has taken hold much more than a few months ago.  If he even remembers that my mother is somehow related to him, by blood or marriage, he calls Mom by the name of his long dead sister.  He is also adamant about getting a job and helping out his also long-dead parents, and needs to go “home”.  In this case, home is where he lived as a young teen.

This is the “sundown effect”.  Symptoms of dementia tend to have a circadian rhythm, and usually are worse at sundown or after.  When I talk to Dad at other times of the day, he’s like he always has been recently – present in the moment, whatever that is for him.  He remembers when he is told, or at least imagines he remembers, what he did a few hours ago or sometimes a few days ago, on the better days but can’t remember how long ago it was.

At sunset, what I now accept as “presence” fades away.  While before he only spoke to us of stories from the distant past, even though they weren’t the stories we remember, and thought they happened recently despite the intervening years, now he lives out those stories daily around sundown.

My father started working to assist our parents before he was a teenager – nine years old sounds familiar.  Unlike many Newfoundlanders, we were not a fishing family.  I’m not really sure what we were, but fishing has never been mentioned.  At the age of 9 Dad took a job of some sort, and this is where his mind is now.

My father was a nine-year old 76 years ago.

The telephone next to me is flashing that it has a message from my mother.  The messages are often innocuous, but I know the day is coming when it won’t be.  This year, I’m trying to decide to go home to see Dad before the event we know is coming, the event in which he no longer responds knowingly to anyone, or if I should simply wait and go home after the next event in which he simply no longer responds at all, and his body finally gives up.

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Further On


by Paul Bishop — October 23, 2008

(for G & M’s wedding)

When the petals have dried from the bridal bouquet
And the waves have replaced the sands
You’ll still be finding love everyday
In holding each other’s hands

Strength in each other’s arms
Contentment in those smiles
Serenity through the trials of life
Walking this journey’s many miles

When no more words need be spoken
And so many years have come and gone
You’ll still be walking, hands linked unbroken
Together, further on

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Just Not The Same


by Paul Bishop – February 7, 1998

What’s behind your eyes?
It never quite reaches your face
I can tell by your stance
Not to invade your stance

Pushing me away?
No.  Neither pulling me in
Keep me that safe distance
Away from hurt within

I watched you Sunday
From where I sat in my pew
I do not understand
What has changed inside you

You are just not the same
The flame within you now dies
But I cannot see
The truth behind your eyes

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The Well


by Paul Bishop – September 14, 1997

I should have known when I courted disaster,
Disaster takes the opportunity to happen.
Why did I let myself dance
So close to the edge?
So close to the known menace of unknown power?
I never expected to fall…

But nothing was near enough to grab that I was willing to take
And what I wasn’t willing to take as aid floated
Nebulous in the dimness of my self-reliance (more…)

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Where Are They Now?


by Paul Bishop –  June 8, 1997

How far away can I be before it’s noticed that I have moved?
How many pretenses can I drop before my true self becomes known?
As long as the church thinks I feel something…
Apparently I can change a lot

How far away before someone follows me
To seek the reasons for my departure? (more…)

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The First of Many Next Times


by Paul Bishop – February 3, 1997

What can I leave with you?
What can I say?
How do I express my thoughts
On a day like today?

Thank you for everything
Too fast did time fly
What can I say to you?
I won’t say “Goodbye.”

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Seasonal Angst


by Paul Bishop — November 29, 1996

When I stare into the sky
And feel the snow fall on my face
In the dark of drifting night
Suddnely life steps back a pace
Fall upon me, snow of white
Cover me in blanket bright
When it melts in springtime day
Will it wash my sins away? (more…)

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