A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

Heart Memories

I received a letter from “Maggie” (“What to Do About Mama?” p. 146) yesterday, informing me of her husband’s passing. She shared a poem that was read at his funeral by their pastor.  I would like to share it in turn with you.
Heart Memories
I remember you with my heart.
My mind won’t say your name.
I can’t recall where I knew you;
Who you were
Or who I was.
Maybe I grew up with you,
Or maybe we worked together,
Or did we bowl together yesterday?
There’s something wrong with my memory,
But, I do know you.
I know I knew you
And I do love you.
I know how you make me feel;
I remember the feelings we had together.
My heart remembers.
It cries out in loneliness for you,
For the feeling you give me now.
Today, I’m happy that you have come.
When you leave,
My mind will not remember
That you were here,
But my heart remembers.
Remembers the feeling of friendship
And love returned.
Remembers
That I am less lonely
And happier today,
Because you have come.
Please don’t forget me;
And please don’t stay away
Because of the way my mind acts.
I can still love you.
I can still feel you.
I can remember you with my heart;
And a heart memory is maybe
The most important memory of all.
“Maggie” and her husband were married for nearly 50 years. His dementia was certainly not in their retirement plans. Now “Maggie” is trying to get her life back on track, and is dealing with feeling:  “What do I do now?” (see p. 154).  I hope that, over time, “Maggie’s” “forever–why?” will fade into the background, and that all the beautiful memories of what they shared together take their rightful place in the forefront once again.

Barbara Matthews

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