My good friend Jana lost her husband today to a battle of Alzeimer's. He was only 57. She is only 56. Just 4 years ago she lost her son (whom I went to school with and was very close to) in a freak accident when he was home visiting from his military assignment in Germany. Her other two sons are out of the house, one just having graduated from Purdue. She is taking it well considering and she did expect this to happen within a few weeks. He was a good man, good husband. I took care of him in his home last year up until I had Hadley.
There are many threads here on the mule which deal with the loss of a loved one. Type in death, or dying in the search box above. This one comes to mind:
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Thanks Les, but I was thinking of something not really pertaining necessarily to death itself. Perhaps to the other circumstances. I am familiar with several funeral poems, but I was really trying to think of something, maybe that would coincide with the horrors of alzeimers.
Talia, there are lots of links here, to poems relating to alzheimers, but I can't vouch for the quality.
Talia, without knowing your friend and how she related to her husband's ailment, it's hard to tell what might be appropriate. Perhaps something like this one:
---Christina Georgina Rossetti
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
I have found this poem a perpetual help:
A Letter from Brooklyn
An old lady writes me in a spidery style,
Each character trembling, and I see a veined hand
Pellucid as paper, travelling on a skein
Of such frail thoughts its thread is often broken;
Or else the filament from which a phrase is hung
Dims to my sense, but caught, it shines like steel,
As touch a line and the whole web will feel.
She describes my father, yet I forget her face
More easily than my father's yearly dying;
Of her I remember small, buttoned boots and the place
She kept in our wooden church on those Sundays
Whenever her strength allowed;
Grey-haired, thin-voiced, perpetually bowed.
"I am Mable Rawlins," she writes, "and know both your parents";
He is dead, Miss Rawlins, but God bless your tense:
"Your father was a dutiful, honest,
Faithful, and useful person."
For such plain praise what fame is recompense?
"A horn-painter, he painted delicately on horn,
He used to sit around the table and paint pictures."
The peace of God needs nothing to adorn
It, nor glory nor ambition.
"He is twenty-eight years buried," she writes, "he was called home,
And is, I am sure, doing greater work."
The strength of one frail hand in a dim room
Somewhere in Brooklyn, patient and assured,
Restores my sacred duty to the Word.
"Home, home," she can write, with such short time to live,
Alone as she spins the blessings of her years;
Not withered of beauty if she can bring such tears,
Nor withdrawn from the world that breaks its lovers so;
Heaven is to her the place where painters go,
All who bring beauty on frail shell or horn,
There was all made, thence their lux-mundi drawn,
Drawn, drawn, till the thread is resilient steel,
Lost though it seems in darkening periods,
And there they return to do work that is God's.
So this old lady writes, and again I believe.
I believe it all, and for no man's death I grieve.
It is a very wierd situation because although he had Alzeimer's, he was not at all old. He was 57 and had only had been diagnosed with the disease for 5 years or so. This has always been a problem because nursing homes and things like that are much more accepted for "old people", and when you see an old man in a restaurant who cannot order his own food, the waitress immediately understands, but not when the man looks to be your husband or your father.
There are some poems specifically written by caretakers and family members of Alzheimer's victims here: [members.lycos.nl] />