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The Dance

My father-in-law died from Alzheimers this week. He died peacefully in the hands of a facility full of life and hope and angels dressed in flesh. Unmistakably, Alzheimer’s is a hideous and heart-wrenching disease and to those of you living out this life with your loved ones, my heart goes out to you. Yet, I am thankful that this disease is mercifully forgetful for the one living in its tangled grip. And for the ones watching it play out, dare I say, in struggling past the initial shock and grief, there can sometimes be found – even just briefly – beauty in the ashes. I pray you have moments of beauty, -albeit different and stark and always sad- but beauty nonetheless.

 

In the early years my husband and I cared for Dad at home, until we couldn’t anymore.

… This is the dance we danced. 

astaire (1)

We dance this dance
you and I
between magic
and tragedy
and the innocence of life
reduced to a Saturday picture show
whose cutting room floor we waltz gently upon
strewn with
images and scripts
and tangled nests of
stories…

those reel too real stories
that circle tirelessly
and feed endlessly
onto Silver Screens of nickel talkies
and kerosene-lit rooms
spliced with fiddle-played tunes
and a dad who hunts badgers on sunlit prairies
with his 10-year-old son
softshoeing closely beside

On this dance floor we dip
and in dipping we slide
into The Great War
of a 17-year-old sailor
fueled by honor
and duty
and a dream of life at sea                                                                                                                 haunted by Japanese boys with eyes too big and wanting

to forget

Swinging to a different song
we twirl through manhood
past marriage, and fatherhood, and too many years
sliced and forgotten
on Sundowner’s cutting room floor                                                                                                      buried
too far beyond reach to protect

so we glide and sachet and tap past all the madness

… and we gently circle back

to Saturday’s picture show and its nickel talkies
and this waltz                                                                                                                                       between magic
and tragedy
and the innocence
of a mind
brought back to simpler memories

of Life that keeps dancing on

astaire (1)                                                                                      Dance free now, Dad. Dance free.

A Field of Wild Flowers (Small Wonder)

Tell His Story

Coffee for you Heart,

Thought-Provoking Thursdays

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Through the Door

Last Saturday, we placed our Dad in what will be his last home. It was all things hard, all things right, and all things Life mixed into a jumble of wearied emotions and ‘next thing’ challenges. SO thankful to a God who loves us and ushers us gently through new thresholds – especially when their the hard ones.  

kaleidoscope

 

We said goodbye over coffee

and haunting silence

covered by the traffic going by

We created our ruse, and collected our thirty coins and left you

wondering

and wandering

in the hallways of your own mind

lost

And we were lost too

between right and wrong and choices that seemed so harsh and hard and right

tumbling together confused as we waded through the maze of truth and lies and made-up stories created to make you believe, to make us believe

that Life might bring us hope again – somehow

So we took the long steps across the parking lot, up the curb and down the walk and we pushed past the Doubts and Darkness that mocked our every step.opendoorPeterGeorgiev

We were bringing you to the “Old Folks Home” The dread idea used to set you off on a tirade when your mind had been whole, “If you ever have to take me to an old folks home, dagnabbit, just shoot me. I’d rather be dead.”

And yet here we were,

and here you were

and here

right around the corner, much to our weary surprise, we found Life

waiting patiently

holding the door

arms opened wide,

“Welcome home, Willie, come on in.”

Then nodding with a smile, He looked our way,  and spoke to us too,

“It’s a been a long hard journey, you two… You did good. I’ll take it from here.”

And just like that – with our hand in His, and our hearts snuggled in His care –

Life walked the three of us through the door.

Kaleidoscope (A New View)

kaleidoscope

Recently I wrote a post about one of my kaleidoscope days — One of those days I tumbled through life feeling disjointed and scattered. I almost deleted it. But then I stumbled on a poem I wrote that First Summer when Dad came to live with us. The summer when I was so desperately trying to find more than just a remnant of the man I once knew. I had named it Kaleidoscope too. Funny.

So I reread them both – my post and my Dad poem. And I realized that sometimes it’s just too stinkin’ easy to look at what’s broken. Sometimes it seems the only show in town are the shattered pieces tumbling in the constant of shifting sands.

So I decided NOT to delete my broken day, and I decided TO share that First Summers’ poem. Because, really, so much of this Life IS broken, and lost, and needs to be searched for.  And the tragedy of this Alzheimer world where Chris, Dad and I live IS tragic, and sad, and churns with fractured images that I’d gladly trade for just one whole complete one.

.. So, yes, I’ll share.

BUT…

But today, I wasn’t reminded of tragedy or sadness or brokenness. Today I wasn’t even reminded of Alzheimer’s. Nope. Today I was reminded of the kaleidoscope’s miracle. I remembered the excitement, and the joy, that was re-created with every turn. I remembered the simple hope of unexpected beauty and transformed images. Today I remembered that we are promised beauty for ashes — a colorful, twirling dance of indescribable beauty, formed with all the fragments of our shattered, wonderful lives.

Today, I hope you are one twist away from the miracle you hope for.

Kaleidoscope

In a kaleidoscope

of fractured time

you fall

a fragment of memory

churning

a shard of shattered life

twirling

Captive in this

house of mirrors

where shifting shadows

and waking fears

are forgotten faces

turning

a fragile life

swirling

Frozen in this kaleidoscope

of fractured

time

I look for you

kaleidoscope2

Creative Commons by Maia C. and ark Photostream