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Archive for the ‘home’ Category

Dad

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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A STAY AT THE WHISPERING PINES

by Paul Bishop — September 2, 2006

(For A & A)

A long winding road
That curls ’round gentle hills
Of St. Remy, New York
In the gorgeous Catskills

The Whispering Pines stand tall and fine
A soft sussuration speaking to their kind
The gentle breeze
The rocks, the trees
And birds to sleep with ease

Over the house the trees stand and guard
Silent sentinels of the nature-filled yard
While music flows
Its skirling goes
Long after day’s close

Fire-maned goddess in forest-green gown
And hippophile sage with pony-tail brown
With voice, whistle, guitar
Harp, bodhran, mandolin
Welcome you warmly when you come in

Hospitality of the most generous kind
Music for the soul, pease for the mind
Rest for the weary
From a world well-roamed
Another place that I can call “Home:

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Sunset On Huron

SUNSET ON HURON

by Paul Bishop — June 30, 1992

Ripples on the water
Golden waves of sunset
Sun sinking in pink clouds
This is where my heart’s set
To sail on into unending day
Until the light passes away (more…)

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Huron

HURON

by Paul Bishop — July 28, 1991

I stand upon the water’s edge
There is no beach, save a rocky ledge
An awesome size, it is so wide
I cannot see the other side
The sun is shining in the sky
A gentle breeze starts blowing nearby
As I gaze up and down the shore
I hear the Huron’s gentle roar (more…)

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