Dancing with Dementia

Dementia recasts the memory landscape with people and events that never existed.  We are both shocked and intrigued by what our aging parents are saying.  Where did that come from we ask ourselves.  And then there is the nagging question of how should we respond. Correct. Ignore.  Play along.

Barbara Lydecker’s touching poem Conjuring a Son plays along with compassion and  creativity. There is so little we can give our aging parents who are wandering the punitive halls memory loss.  Maybe a collusion of fantasy is not such a bad idea, offering solace when nothing else helps….

Conjuring a Son
by Barbara Lydecker

Mom asks, “How’s your son?”
each time I visit now, though
I’ve never had one.

She asks it loudly
sweetly crinkling eyes as if
she knows I’ll proudly

tell his latest news:
Timmy learned to stand today—
Tim can tie his shoes—

(or should he be Hugh?)
He’ll have dinner with you, Mom,
soon as soccer’s through—

A bike, a moped—
he grew before we knew it.
He’s thinking pre-med—

(Now I see him—Nick:
he’s shy, tall, wry, and enrapt
with geriatrics.)

He’s up for a Nobel!
Mom, every day Nick’s at work,
he’s wishing you well.

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