Just over a month ago, my family lost my grandmother to vascular dementia. Watching her deteriorate over a course of many years broke my mom’s heart. The woman she grew up idolizing was slowly fading away. It started with forgotten words and getting confused with directions, but eventually things got too serious for her to stay at home. It was unfair to my grandfather to be constantly worried about her safety.
I know that if my grandmother was here today, she’d have the most comforting words for my mom. That’s why this poem from Alzheimers.net is so beautiful. It perfectly captures the love a mother has for a daughter, even if she can no longer express it.
My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old,
I ask you to please be patient, but most of all,
try to understand what I’m going through.
If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times,
don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago.”
Just listen, please.
Try to remember the times when you were little
and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.
When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me.
Remember when I had to run after you making excuses
and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl?
When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology,
give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way.
Remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things
like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair,
and dealing with life’s issues every day.
The day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient,
but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.
If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about,
give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient, or arrogant.
Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.
And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before,
give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.
When those days come, don’t feel sad—just be with me,
and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love.
I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared.
With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you,
I just want to say, I love you, my darling daughter.