Open Hearts

On my Face Book page I am friends with a gentleman on a poetry page. I have been following him and his thoughts for some time. He was married for over 50 years and lost his beloved wife to Alzheimer’s Disease.

I got permission from Stanton to share his poem with all of you.

We all have lost someone in our lives and if you have not experienced this, you are so lucky. My heart could relate to so many things he was writing about as far as Al goes. Here it is. I hope you enjoy or feel the open heart.



One Lonely House and One Lonely Man

Come walk around this lonely house with me…

I have nothing here to sell you.

Just some things that I would tell you…

Of a lonely house that June once made a home.

Before the day…that Alzheimer’s took June away.

A Wednesday  in March was the day…

that June went away.

Over there sits our old chairs.

Where June would often sit with me…

And softly say: “I love you Stan!

June is now gone from our home forever …

And this lonely house will never again be a home…

Without June and the Love that we once knew…

Just one lonely house with one lonely man…

and the long lonely nights.

Straight ahead…There’s our bed.

Where we lay, loved and talked together.

See June’s picture on the table…

Doesn’t June look like she’d be able…

to touch me and say…good morning Stan!

In those days when June made this house a home…

Now…Just one lonely house and one lonely man…

and the long lonely nights.

Come walk around this house with me…

one lonely house with one lonely man…

There’s June’s rings and all her things…

June’s clothes are all still in the closets.

The refrigerator door with all of …

…June’s notes, photos , and knacks…

Just as June left them on that day…

that June went away…

That Day my world was torn apart.

that lonely day that broke my heart…

a Wednesday in March was the day.

That Alzheimer’s took June away.

Come walk around this house with me…

I have nothing here to sell you…

Just some things that I would tell you!

Of one lonely house and one lonely man…

and the long lonely nights.

June and Stan 15 March 2005

Who’s Following Me?

“Where am I”? Darla reached up and grabbed a hold of the man’s shirt. “What are you doing? Where are you taking me?” Darla was laying on a portable bed. She was getting ready to be rolled out the waiting EMS.

Darla lived in the home that she and her husband had made. She had made many friends. She partook in many activities. She played bingo, went on car rides, visited friends in nursing homes. She made crafts and sent out cards to grandchildren.

For the last few months visible changes had started to produce. Darla would forget to take her medications.Sometimes she even forgot to eat. Family started to notice a weight loss. The kids started to visit more at meal times, sometimes bringing treats.

Darla came from a big family. She had nine brothers and sisters. She and her husband had six children. Ed, her partner in life  worked in one of the many tomato fields. Darla was a teacher. Their children were brought up with strict rules. The love flowed like streams throughout the home. Their children were raised without many issues.

When Darla and Ed retired their children hosted a wonderful party for them. Darla bought a new violet-blue dress and Ed wore his familiar black suit. So many friends came that the house was weak at the seams. From speaking to Darla, I believe that this was the third biggest memory of her life. The first highlight was her marriage. Second came the children and now this.

These two did everything together after retirement. They worked on crossword puzzles, watched the same television programs. He helped while she prepared their meals. They went to church together and every Sunday they were invited to one of the kid’s house for dinner.

Life was great. Ed and Darla could want for nothing more. At each meal they gave thanks for their many blessings they had received over the years. Every Wednesday Ed paid visits to the local Senior Center while Darla went to the church for her euchre games.

While sitting at the card table she felt a strange feeling running down her arm. She became dizzy and light-headed. The color drained from her face. One of her friends took notice and let the director know. With the call to the EMS, Darla was rushed to the ER. She had suffered a stroke. It devastated the kids and her husband. Ed only left her side when it was time to retire for bed.

The routine of visits, therapy and well wishes turned into six months. Eventually she was able to walk again with the aid of a cane. She returned to their home, and with the help of her husband they enjoyed life for another year.

One chilly morning Darla rose from her bed. She went to the bathroom and then back to see if Ed was up yet. He was not, so she called out to him. The only return she received was silence. She walked to the other side of the bed where he laid so peacefully and saw his lips were a deep blue.

She went to the phone and called the paramedics and the sad news was that he had passed peacefully through the night. Darla mourned along with her children. Three months later she was still mourning and was losing touch with reality. Upon examination she was pronounced with depression and the loss of will to live.

Her body became weak in fighting illness. It was not long after that, Alzheimer’s paid her a visit. It appeared with no invitation and usually over stayed its welcome. As the doctor and the children gathered more evidence, a caregiver was hired.

The caregiver assisted with bathing, meals and medications. Darla had many good days, but the balance became equal with bad days mixing in. It was a routine Monday morning when the caregiver arrived. She was beginning the preparation for the breakfast meal.

Darla walked out to the kitchen and when she took notice of the caregiver she immediately walked over to her and started yelling. “Get out of here! Get out of my kitchen! I am going to call the police! You are breaking into my house”.

The caregiver was taken aback for a moment and then called the eldest child explaining the situation at hand. It was clear as ice that mom’s mind was being taken over by the disease.

The kids and the caregiver had a family meeting. They took a vote on getting mom in a nursing facility if this behavior happened again. Weeks went by and no more episodes or outbursts happened. As the sun lowers and the moon rises it happened again.

Darla didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know her name. It was the worst episode so far. A phone call was made. The children were present. The EMS was there. A room had been provided in a skilled facility and Darla was being taken there at this very moment.

A life full of memories. Big families, years full of love. A constant companion by her side. All buried in her mind. Only specks of reality surfaced now and then. With tears in her son’s eyes, he answered his mom. ” I love you mom. With the help of these two men we are going to take you to a new place. It’s going to be alright. I will be right by your side. Please don’t cry mom, you’re making me cry”.

“Where am I? Where are we going? Where are you taking  me”?……..

Behind the Sun




The Rain, I Received This In An Email, And I Couldn’t Help But Shed A Tear

The Rain


It was a busy morning, about 8:30,

when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s arrived

to have stitches removed from his thumb.

He said he was in a hurry as he

had an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat,

knowing it would be over an hour before

someone would to able to see him.

I saw him looking at his watch and

decided, since I  was not busy with

another patient, I would evaluate

his wound. On exam, it was
well healed, so I talked to one of the

doctors, got the needed supplies to
remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he

had another doctor’s appointment this morning,

as he was in such a hurry.
The gentleman told me no, that he needed

to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast

with his wife. I enquired as to her health.
He told me that she had been there for a while

and that she was a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease.
As we talked, I asked if she would be

upset if he was a bit late.
He replied that she no longer knew who he was,

that she had not recognized him in
five years now.


I was surprised, and asked him, ‘And you still

go every morning, even though she

doesn’t know who you are?’
He smiled as he patted my hand and said,
She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.’

I had to hold back tears as he left, I had

goose bumps on my arm, and thought,
 ‘That is the kind of love I want in my life.’
True love is neither physical, nor romantic.

True love is an acceptance of all that is,

has been, will be, and will not be.

My Heart Is Torn In Half


There are no tears to cry, no place to run and hide. I must stay and face the music.


Broken Heart


Everyone keeps telling me that God will give me no more than I can handle, and I think I can handle no more. To have to admit to myself that my time here is up, is the worst thing I have ever done next to filing my divorce papers, or maybe staring at my father in his casket, trying to burn his image in my mind, so that I will never ever forget his look.


My heart is torn because Al is doing his best, but I can not do it anymore. The stress of the headaches and wanting to pull my hair out one by one shaft, has almost put me over the edge of sanity.


I have heard others say place him, and others say don’t place him, and I have always been the fighter type personality, swearing I can do all things when it comes to making sure others are in the best condition they can be in, but tonight, I have a headache so big, it is scaring me. Tonight, when I am typing, the letters are being tossed backwards and forwards, not staying in order as they should, and I blame this on my stability of being able to think.


The caregiver called me earlier this evening to inform me that she would rather spend her time with her kids tomorrow, and so she didn’t want to come. She asked if this was alright with her, and I smarted off. I couldn’t help it, but it came out and for a few moments, I was ashamed of myself. She is a caregiver that gives showers only, no emotions involved, no talk is tossed between the two, shower and go, and always a wink to Al, saying make the best out of today. I say screw her! He does try to make the best out of each day, and then he starts crying because he knows he fails at this attempt all the time.


Al didn’t understand even what I said, when I told him she wasn’t coming. He asked me what I meant, and I said quite frankly, she isn’t coming! He started crying. I told him to go in the bathroom and start the water and get his clean clothes out, and I would give him his shower tonight instead of in the morning.


As he undressed himself, I noticed he had too long of finger nails, and I remembered how that must not be part of shower duties for the caregiver, so I trimmed his nails. I also trimmed the hairs off of his ears, and also trimmed his mustache. That was a job in itself, because of his tears, his mustache was full of liquid gook! I had to keep wiping his nose so I could trim. I noticed a strong odor coming from him and wondered how long it had been since he had a shower, knowing it truly was yesterday.


When we were finished trimming, I helped him to stand and to sit on the shower chair. This is a three-fold step process. Stand and back up until your knees can feel the shower chair, sit down, turn around and lift one leg at a time until completely on. He didn’t get it right the first time, so we had to do it over again, and when he scooted over, I noticed the color brown all over the shower chair.


I had mixed emotions about this, but just told him that I would have to clean his bathroom when done and he was safely sitting in his recliner. I had already noticed when I did laundry that morning, that there were too many yellows and browns in his under clothing, telling me he was beginning to struggle more and more with bathroom facilities.


Last evening he was so upset, because not only is he becoming obsessed with having his number two’s happening, he has begun the digging process, and now he is upset because he hasn’t gone pee for an  hour. What? I don’t even pee every hour, but then I realized he is just carrying over his obsession from number two to number one and two. Oh my gosh, how am I going to deal with this.


So when I saw this on the shower chair, everything clicked inside of me and I knew it was over.


I have to admit, I don’t know too much about dementia. I know more about the Alzheimer’s disease. I just know that he didn’t and sometimes does not understand simple sentences with very few words, and he is struggling in the bathroom now. He cries at every thing I say.


Tonight after supper I went into his room and turned the fan on in his window. It was so much cooler outdoors than it is in here, and when each of us turn our window fans on  and leave our doors open , in no time, the home is completely cooled by nature.


He went nuts, and without using his cane practically ran to his room, to close his bedroom door. I explained that he had to leave it open, that I was not turning the air on just because he wanted to keep Cali, the kitty out of his room. He was so stressed out,  that this caused another outburst of tears and arguing. This was brought on because the first day we had our new kitty, she had lived outdoors and didn’t recognize her kitty box until the next day, then all was safe. I had told Al to close his bedroom door for that one day, and I would close my bedroom door also, until she was box trained, thank goodness there was only one accident, and she had the training all down in twenty-four hours.


Al would make remarks after that day, saying look, she is using her cat box, and we would both laugh and I would say yep, she sure is!  But, when I told him to leave his door opened, he used Cali as a reason not to, and so once again I explained how it was safe now, that we both knew she was box trained, but he argued and cried.


With all of this and the knowing he is so sad and wants to die, and all the gravy dumped on top of the disease, I can not do anymore. It is going to cost me my health, maybe even a stroke or worse. I have to make the calls. I have to find a place for him where he will be happy, but my heart is torn in half, and this will be so hard. I am going to need all the positive support I can get, as there is no support here around me. Please help me get through this, I beg of you. It is like another death in a way to me. I know I will be able to go see him, this is not the point. It is another loss of a family member, like losing my own mom and dad, and finally the walls will speak no more, the ceilings will shed no more tears, and all around will be silence, until I build my life, opening the page to a new chapter.