Always Rosemary

The 21st September is World Alzheimer’s Day. This poem, written five years ago, is dedicated to my mother in law, Rosemary, who lived alongside of Alzheimer’s for a number of years.

Sleeping now.

May your blanket be woven of spring time threads,

and flamespun from the azalea outside your window,

wild garlic fattening the woodland paths,

your fields, bested by bluebells,

Welsh oak, wild cherry, the rising sound

of saplings, keening in the breeze.

The crushed camelia heads that cushion the verge

below the trees

that you loved to see

as we were Fishguard, ferry bound.

Red petals gracing too, the secret garden,

where, a few snatched weeks ago,

we picked for you

Derek’s daffodils,

lingering strong and plump,

golden on your windowsill.

Sea thrift and campion binding the two Heads,

Dinas and Morfa dipping Westwards,

unwittingly majestic and yet, now, forlorn.

No longer held in your view.

Yet you loved to look out over these landmarks,

contemplating, ruminating,

reflecting perhaps,

on kinder, gentler days,

as you stared across the Bay

sometime sea shimmered,

at others, murk misted

 and

“Can’t see Dinas Head’, you’d say.

But cliffs and headlands prevail,

rock steady,

as you well knew,

through older age and illness,

stoically surviving,

cup of tea reviving,

discomfort, trauma,

bravely borne.

Ages slipped by, unwittingly,

as such they do,

and gradually,

and I am sure,

unwillingly

you gathered your very self in,

breathed deep,

withdrew.

Harder to distinguish then

your hopes, your fears,

the altered state

the change of mind.

Some things are, it seems,

beyond the ken

of us, the ones to remain behind.

Left, bereft,

to nurse your memory,

there must be laughter,

there will be tears.

But for all that changed,

across these widowed years,

you remained

a smile,

a crossword clue determined

a flash of will.

And of this I am,

ever certain,

always Rosemary,

somewhere,

it might seem to be

adrift,

yet fixed,

blossoming still.

Resting now,

sure enough and

ready to greet us

from

behind the ethereal, floating curtain.