Sunday, November 29, 2009

In Retrograde

I'm watching her grow young.
She's finding wonder in the simple things
Finding newness in the familiar,
Unlearning all the things she once taught me

She's traveling backwards at the speed of light,
With snowy hair and vertigo,
Dizzy and unnerved as the past shrinks small out of sight,
With familiar ground re-appearing beneath her feet

She's learning how it is not to coordinate her limbs,
How not to be in charge,
How to be dependent
And to wonder what comes next.

She's reclaiming peace with the unknown:
Afternoon naps,
Loving hands buttoning her down and caressing
As she blushes at her new-found ignorance.

Unsettled, unfocused, unsure,
But never unloved
She's whizzing in reverse
Growing older and younger.

I'm happy to hold her hand.


  1. Ashley, that is beautiful! Have you read "STill Alice"....also a beautiful book about Alzheimers.

    May I put this on Facebook? If not, may I share it with a friend whose mother has early onset Alzheimers?

    Thank you!!

  2. You can share it with your friend, sure! My prayers are with her...I know my gramma's journey has been tough for my mom, and I'm glad to bring any comfort I can. <3

  3. Hi Ashley,
    I am Marsha's friend. I so appreciate her sharing your poem with me. It is beautiful, and gentle. I find myself in a paniced state at the imaginings of what is to come. My mom is 66, has lead a high energy, creative, can-do, interesting life. She is the mom that has always been the favorite of all my friends thru the years. Never would have expected this to be her fate.
    I'll refer back to your words again, when I need to calm my perspective.

  4. Jama,

    You have my heartfelt prayers. I know that's such a hard road to walk...maybe my mom can pipe in here with some good resources. <3

  5. Jama,
    My heart goes out to you. I am Ashley's mom and my mother has Alzheimers. I will look up some of my resources and list them on here after Christmas when things slow down. One word of advice is treasure each moment you have. You lose a little of the parent you knew daily. It is ok to grieve each loss as it comes rather than holding the emotions in. I journal and this helps me process my thoughts and emotions.