Dementia blessings – Communion

One of the gifts of spending time with a parent with dementia is that eventually you give up trying to have a conversation about the mundane doings of everyday, and sink into a slower, quieter, more heart-centered engagement. When I started allowing myself to be with Mum in this way, it felt like the difference between communication and communion …



Forgetting has untethered you
From time and space and ought and should;
Freed you from multitasking myths
That bind me to anxious adulthood.

Simply being right here, right now,
Beyond the reach of memories
Or clever plans or strategies,
You dwell in present timelessness.

Patiently you wait for me
To tire of the unnecessary
Conversations that ask and tell
Of ‘what we did’ – inconsequential!

At last my pace begins to slow.

No need for words as we commune;
Your loving gaze invites me home.
You beckon me to make a start
Upon a journey from head to heart.

mum clapping

Dementia blessings – Breaking through

Dementia is on the rise globally, with the number of cases expected to double every twenty years. It can be terrifying to discover that your parent or grandparent is losing their memory. It brings up a host of fears about the future – both theirs and yours.

Yet, over the last 14 years of our mother’s life, as her cognitive faculties declined and she became increasingly dependent on others, we also experienced that this condition can bring with it the most profound blessings.

Over the next few weeks, I will be dedicating my nature solos to exploring and reflecting on this aspect of mum’s life and legacy. Here is my first offering …

mum clapping

Breaking through

No longer
chained to social norms
nor memories of loss
and pain,
as the past withdraws
your waning brain allows
your soul to soar.

 Your spirit
nourished through your life
by early morning prayer
breaks through
the density of flesh
to shine on us
with love and joy.

Dementia blessings – 1


Monday is still Mum-day

This year started on a sad note. Our darling mum Elizabeth passed away on 17 January 2016. Mum had advanced dementia. Over the last decade, I had spent most Mondays with her, learning so much about life, love and communication. So, yesterday being Monday, I decided to continue the Mum-day tradition by spending time with my memories of mum in the supportive presence of Mother Nature.


What drew me to this place beyond
your transitioning
On a day dripping with enervation,
Like your last day
When the heat-wave broke over you
Dragging you under?

The stony bed
Its stream departed, like your life
percolating away
With every rattling breath.

This boulder, as cold
To my back as your forehead
To my palm at our final parting.

That single leaf
Spiralling as it falls,

Cicadas, insistent,
Interminable as the priest
Belting out his too-long sermon,
Quickening the flick of my agitated fan.

Barefoot on the sacred ground
I light a candle
Contemplate your image
Kiss the lock of your white hair.

I mourn your passing, ache
For your soft touch, your
Knowing look, your
Ever-outstretched love.

The living-dying forest comforts me
With blessings of green-filtered sunlight.
Your spirit draws close
On the breeze.