Sunday, June 10, 2012

IGWRT's A Word with Laurie Challenge - "Helen"


Clickety clack,
one inch square heels
echoing in the corridor
each Friday evening
announced it was 5:55.

"Has mother arrived?
Have I kept her waiting?"

With furrowed brow
Helen's trembling hand
smoothed her calico
house dress and blue-grey hair.

"I took extra long
fixing my pigtails.
Do you think mother
will like my new frock?
We're going to the park
to swing, to picnic."

Of times past,
her mind traversed,
sagging eyes
sparkling innocent,
girly giggles
emanating from
wrinkled mouth.

6:05 p.m.
Mother hadn't come
(she never did)
Helen worried
(every time).

I'd tell her,
"She's running late."

She'd sigh and clickety clack
back down the corridor.

The last Friday I worked,
there was no Helen at 5:55.
I walked to her room
found it empty...

and with tears slowly smiled.

Helen was finally at the park with her mother.

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, June 10, 2012

* * * * *

To earn extra money for my wedding, I worked a part time job at a nursing home every Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.  Dear sweet Helen was a pure joy and one time I actually greeted her and said "Do you have plans with your mother tonight?" and she looked at me strangely and said,"Sweetheart, my dear mother has been dead for thirty years!"

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - A Word with Laurie".  The topic dimentia.  Hope on over and see other wonderful takes on this theme.


Laurie Kolp said...

Aww... so sweet and such a good description of dementia. I like how you ended it on the positive note that she's finally with her mother. Still a bit sad, though.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Isn't it the moments of lucidity which make the loss of everything so hard to bear. I loved your description, so vividly based on your own experience..and that dress pattern brings back memories of my own mother sewing. sigh.

TexWisGirl said...

oh, touching...

Mary said...

This is a very real and touching poem. I can picture Helen. At least in her dementia she seemed to be happy! And, yes, now she is with her mother!

Fireblossom said...

Sometimes it seems as if the adult person is stripped away, and the child is again revealed, though in a melancholy way because it isn't real. The, for a moment, the adult returns, and that only makes it all more poignant, just like your poem.

Helen said...

There were more than several 'Helens' for me during the years I cared for my mother ... there was Lori, Eva, Barbara, Nerkis, Shirley, Lois, Bettye, Susie .. and a few Charlies, Bobs and a Robert thrown into the mix ... all so precious. I do have many lovely memories of them. I enjoyed your poem, Margaret.

Other Mary said...

This shouldn't make me cry, but it does. Sadly, that really is the only way dementia every gets better.

Ginnie said...


Ella said...

Wow this was so vivid and had a young vibe. The reduction of our memories seems to entrance selected memories~ Great Write!