My grandmother is nearly 97.
In many ways, she is a lovely person – but at the same time, she has held on to so much of her timidity and worry about life that she has little left at this point. She had to be a strong person when she was younger, and she went through hardships. Sometimes she did everything without a husband to help her, including raising eight kids.
She’s fairly deep in dementia now, and I find it sad to see how so much of her good memories have gone and how she focuses on her worries more than her joys. I think of her when I need a reason to be positive. And I write her letters, so she knows she’s not forgotten. I want to lay up such a store of positive, empowering thoughts that when I am old it will still be there to sustain me, and my twilight will be a good one. In a way, I wrote this bit of free verse for her.
the ebbing mind
slips from its moorings
a remnant of bitter flavor
acrid on the tongue
memories flow and ripple
through clutching mental fingers
to satisfy that need
for steady ground on which to stand