for my husband who labors to hold me close in memory in the wilderness of Alzheimer's


where is the broom to sweep up

all the shards, to re-deal life's cards

when a loved one has gone away

and left a heart to break on its own

the sudden crippling chill of all alone

from all the years once spent together

and now the bed is bigger, colder

no matter the number of blankets,

they cannot fill that space beside

where he used to lay, and keep

me warm, where is heaven's mercy

then, that makes an angel of one

so dear and hallowed in my life who

will walk with me, but without memory . . . the rooms still hold his essence

like it's waiting for him to return ... his scent like musks finest hour

filling the air, his laughter a tenant

in my heart that filled my ears

i cry but he does not spill with my tears

flowing down the smile lines he

drew on my face with his soft kisses

as i gaze into the mirror alone,

the place he once left so many notes on

shades of his rosy hue covered his lips,

the "i love you"s with little hearts

i drew to dot the i... i was his girl . . . i was the vessel he filled with his love

made life's journey so much easier,

how he filled my sails . ..

now every wind

carries hints of his voice, my one-sided

conversations of all the plans we'd made

on those walks we used to take . . . we pointed at the snow on the mountain,

how it seemed so big through our years , we laughed, imagining how cold it would be

up there, though his smile could melt

the polar caps, and i would even tell him so . i see, the snows returning, time's great

hands weighing the horizon, but that snow

won't melt now, i shelter the flame

of him in my heart, though my steps

are slowed and heavier, how he still

keeps me warm.that mountain doesn't

look so big anymore, that place you laid

down for your final sleep without me

by your side to keep you warm now . . . it's all a mess now, time without him

hard to keep the place clean now

it doesn't feel so much like a home

without him by my side, sharing my life

clear minded

maybe time is the bristled straw

against my final hours turning to dust

when my heart stops beating, too weak

to go on anymore, and then

to collect me and carry me to him. . . and my legs will be young again

and my arms will be strong again

and my heart will become whole again

and he will redraw those smile lines

with those soft kisses and touches

upon my smooth face and that future

day i will once more sweep him

off his spiritual feet ... he is still my

smile as i think of that coming day

no longer having to spend without him

in that day of final reckoning . .

that day of final beckoning


nan shartel Oct. 4, 2009 @ 10:24 p.m.

you called me ur little Chickadee...bright eyed busy bird never at a wont for something to be interested in chattering and begging to be in your hands ..fed by the beauty of the culmination of my passion and your grace

u had a way with birds such as me Bobby...i miss u dear


nan shartel Oct. 4, 2009 @ 11:34 p.m.

thx hunnypants..he's a quite lithesome lovely laddie with a sad sad condition that sometimes late at nite makes me awfully lonely


SDaniels Oct. 4, 2009 @ 11:42 p.m.

Oh my god, Nan. What a beautiful face. I am so sorry you are both going through this--it is the worst and longest goodbye ever, isn't it. There are many strange coincidences at work here--I lived with my Nana for long long years while she battled the onset of dementia, and my nickname from her and my best Auntie--"my little Chickadee." Something about you, Lady, feels so much like family, including your amazing snappy wit--and birdlike patter making sweet little tracks all over the site.


PistolPete Oct. 5, 2009 @ 7:23 a.m.

Very good poem,nan. My grandmother was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimers when she died. I thank God that He/She spared her some bad days.


CuddleFish Oct. 5, 2009 @ 8:12 a.m.

Just got a call yesterday evening from an old friend that she is seeing signs of Alz in her mother.

What a beautiful poem, nan. Thank you for sharing it. It's so good to read your essays on this site.


magicsfive Oct. 5, 2009 @ 8:20 a.m.

wow this is awesome. i have had the privilege of caring for many alzheimer's patients throughout my nursing career. it is a heartbreaking journey for them as well as their families. i applaud you for writing this. bless your heart. xoxo


nan shartel Oct. 5, 2009 @ 9:58 a.m.

thx all...i love the galoot and do my best to make the best of it...thx for ur friendliness...

now don't be tip toein around me u vagabonds!!!!!

have the best week ever homeys


Robert Johnston Oct. 5, 2009 @ 11:22 a.m.

The horror of Alzheimer's (or any other terminal illness) is that you and you life-partner (or family member) know that they are dying...yet nothing can be done to save them.

I went through the same thing with my wife after her last stroke. Soon, the woman I loved and cherished was gone forever...and in her place, someone cold, abusive, and nasty.

There was nothing I could do to bring the woman I loved back...for she was now in the Mists of Time, never to return.

Your poem was haunting beautiful--and brought a tear to my eyes. I miss her so--yet I know I can never have her back. I still cannot listen to "Golden-Oldies" Rock without remembering...and changing the station before I totally lose it.

May The Lord smile on you, deserve that and so much more! --Robbiebear


nan shartel Oct. 5, 2009 @ 6:55 p.m.

robbiebear...we are simpatico

the heart that remains must not only double in size to hold the memories of wonder that existed between the two... but it must also grow new tendrils into the outer sunlit that it may remain vital and seek new way of nurturing and tending new growth

my husband was a gardener and he taught me natures rules where this is is my great hope that both of us ...both u and i Robbiebear...will have the strength to maintain the vitality of our personal internal gardens


i miss most our words...the conversations..the reaching out for more and more memory is lost...there is less and less to that the closeness no longer exist fully here in my home anymore


antigeekess Oct. 16, 2009 @ 9:21 p.m.

nan, this just devastates me every time I return to it. It has to be the most beautiful thing ever to grace this site.

I was reminded of it again this evening as I caught part of a TV show (Dr. Phil - and no, I usually don't watch it). But tonight he happened to have Frank Broyles, former University of Arkansas coach. He told stories of his wife's battle with Alzheimers and how he dealt with it using creative methods. It sounded like she couldn't have been in better hands. Coach Frank is a smart guy.

He's chronicled his experiences with her, and the techniques he learned, in a book. Amazon is sold out. There is, however, a copy at Alibris, if you're interested:


nan shartel Oct. 18, 2009 @ 10:26 a.m.

thx AntiM...I'll check it out...i so happy everyone who read the poem accepted the positive and negative feelings that run thru me on almost a daily basis with Bobby...thx for understanding...Nan


MsGrant April 6, 2010 @ 12:43 p.m.

Thanks for bringing me to this, anti. Maybe out of town when it was posted and never read it the first time.

Nan, this is a beautiful tribute to love.


nan shartel April 6, 2010 @ 1:26 p.m.

thx so much Grantie dear...ur a sweet one...much love to u


antigeekess April 6, 2010 @ 6:31 p.m.

Re #15: It's devastatingly beautiful, isn't it, Grant?

Passed over that month in favor of some rather short entry about sports, I think.

Oh well, there's no accounting for (lack of) taste...


MsGrant April 6, 2010 @ 6:58 p.m.

Yes, it made me cry. Maybe the Reader could consider deeper material?


nan shartel April 6, 2010 @ 7:10 p.m.

aaaaaahhhhhhhh...poetry is a hard sell ladies...worry not..i relish and live lavishly between the words when i write it...that is reward enough


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