|Woman on her Deathbed|
I am not that old she says
as she grabs my hand,
well maybe, maybe seasoned
with a little salt and pepper.
and I shy away;
do not want to share her death;
her inability to love
plays depressing dirges in my mind.
I am distracted, lost in self,
cold indifferent to her needs.
Pain, physical or otherwise
is all encompassing, draining,
drains emotional response
and I leave her there,
I hear her whimpering,
her incessant pleading for my return
does naught but to quicken anger
I curl into a tiny ball, try to shut her out
Clock ticks marks out time
and hours pass in eternal gloom.
I am with her now
and she whispers
Child, if only I could change the past,
I would have loved you more. I wish
that you could love me too. But I do I do I do
but let not beggars ride…
She has gone now, died,
gone to where’er it is
the callous go,
yet she is here still
deep inside this memory,
a memory of what could have been
in time so long ago
a childhood passed away
Shanyn at dVerse has us writing of phrases heard somewhere or other that remain in your memory and emerge when you least expect them.
Eons ago, when I was a young thing, I went nightclubbing with a work friend and her mother; I can’t remember why her mother went, maybe to chaperone? My work friend was called Lesley and I can still picture her face, but can’t recall her surname but can recall when I wished for something – can’t remember what that was either – her response was that of: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
I had never heard this before and couldn’t understand her response, for it appeared callous and unnecessary – but this response has stuck with me to this very day and I hear myself saying it (in my head) should anyone wish for something. And it was only today I sought its true meaning given as better results will be achieved by action than wishing, but of course this is often not so.
The poem bears witness to an experience of some years ago while I was attendant during the dying process of one of our residents, she a product of a dysfunctional family who continued the cycle producing one of her own. Some mothers who have felt unloved by their own mother smother their children with ‘love’ to compensate, but it is a destructive love, a love of mixed messages, a love that creates hatred.
Her (adult) children could not bear to be alone with her, hence my presence there. I can remember our resident pleading (of her daughter) for proof of love, wishing to hear it in words… and the proverb spoke itself in my mind. I felt bad about this then and still do.
(The words of the poem are that of the daughter.)
Image: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Author: Van Gogh