Archive for the ‘life’ 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.

Read Full Post »

Shrapnels of Time

In a long ago comment, someone asked me to talk about my family.  I doubt that person is still around, looking at my blog, but here’s a little piece of it.  I wrote this late last year, but it’s taken a while to be willing to put it on public display.

Shrapnels of Time

by Paul Bishop – December 3, 2009

My father is old
His memory is shot full of holes
Replaced with whatever seeps through
From earlier times

Some of them are false memories
He doesn’t know that
Still his emotions from them are strong
And he is defensive about being proven wrong

He doesn’t realize how it affects us
When he accuses us of what hasn’t happened
In places where he hasn’t been
Of how we have wronged him

Yet forgets our names in the next breath
But he may laugh with old stories
That are good even if not true or slightly off
And we smile and nod and pretend too

Love heals all wounds they say
But Alzheimers is a smoking gun

Read Full Post »

January 2009

The new year started with a whimper as I survived my series of 4 colds, or one long one with healthy relapses.  Writing hasn’t been done in favour of my jewellery business.  I hope to get some new words out of my head sometime.  I don’t know if I’m suffering writer’s block or just tired and already wintered-out.

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »


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:

Read Full Post »

Start From Where You Are


by Paul Bishop – January 12, 1997

When you begin from where you are
You start somehow afresh, anew
Without the burdens of the past
To damp your spirits and weaken you (more…)

Read Full Post »

Thy Will Be Done


by Paul Bishop – April 13, 1998

“Oh Father, will You rescue Me?
I’ve done what I can
Now the test must come
Must I die
Is there no other way?”

“Thy Will Be Done” (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »