The Sea of Forgetfulness (FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY: OCEAN)

I wrote this piece near the end of last year about my dad to try to explain how it feels to love someone who has dementia and also to try to express how it might feel from his experience:

 

THE SEA OF FORGETFULNESS

I don’t know the first time

You took your first sail onto

The Sea of Forgetfulness

Where the fog clouded your judgement

And the navigational stars

Were nowhere to be seen.

The tide brought you swiftly back

To where we waited on the shore

But the call of that sea was irresistible

And the undertow soon pulled you out

Again and again.

 

 

The ebb grew stronger than the flow

As you drifted further out each time

Further from our view

But you still looked back to the front

(all back to front indeed)

As you signalled the landmarks you tried to decipher

Through your back to front telescope

And I raced along the pier to reach

As close to you as possible,

Not close enough to reach the towline,

Not strong enough to pull you back.

For long hours you kept your eyes

Fixed on the strand

On that familiar female figure

Longing for you to come home

You strained your eyes to see her as she morphed in the mist

– wife, sister, mother, me –

Until you finally turned your eyes to the horizon

And set sail for Home

 

 

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Restored (FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY)

My patient wouldn’t let me leave without a gift – well, three gifts, to be precise: a Danish pastry (which I’d not eaten with the cup of tea he’d made because of my diet), half a dozen eggs from his friend’s hens, and large wooden bowl.

It was a chunky heavy piece, hewn from a great branch, left with much of the rough uneven edges of the original tree. But it had laid unused in an old coal scuttle next to an empty fireplace for the past two years since he had downsized to a smaller property.

“Take it,” he said, “if you like it. If you don’t, I’m only going to throw it away.”

Sucker for a piece of ‘real tree wood’ (as my father used to call it) how could I refuse?

Back home, I knew it wouldn’t be difficult to restore it to its former glory. Impatient to do so and with no teak oil in the house, I found the lemon oil that my husband uses to care for the beautiful cherrywood of his guitars. Carefully and gently I wiped away the accumulated dust, grime, and glitter from the bowl’s surfaces and crannies with a damp cloth. Then, once the bowl had dried, I stroked the softly scented oil into all its smooth surfaces, leaving the crude irregular parts matt to emphasise the contrast.

It glowed. The contrast of all its curves and age lines stood out as they should. It was restored to how its creator had intended.

And I thought about what restored actually means. The dictionary defines it as when something is returned to its former condition. But there’s another definition, which is when something is given back to its original owner.

And I wondered what is required for us to be restored?

Perhaps we too need to let One who loves us and wants us to clean us up and apply not a hard varnish but a holy oil that will sink right into our very being and bring out our natural glow? We were meant to be clean, shining with His inner light, knowing who made us and to whom we belong.

AZ384 (FLY – Five Minute Friday)

Time to share some poetry for a change this week. This one was inspired by a family trip to Gozo when my boys were younger. However uncomfortable it can be in economy class and however many flights I’ve taken, the sheer physics of flight remains magical.

AZ384 (Underneath are the everlasting arms):

We sit,

In mint-sucking anticipation of

Acceleration and lift

Like swans running across

The canal surface until

Acute angled up

We speed

Into the sky.

Our arms outstretch

Across the aisle

To each other

For reassurance,

Echoing the shape

Of our aeroplane’s wings

Or a skein of geese

Flying in formation,

We, like them,

Are steering south

Away from autumn

T’ward warmer light.

Aloft

We soar steadfastly forward

Like an optimistic

Paper dart

Launched high

Across the room

Or as my father

Used to swoop me

In exciting safety

Into bed.

Here we skim

Higher skies,

Hand holding,

Hand held,

On rising air currents

On angel wings

On the very fingertips

Of God.

 

I must admit that the first thing that came into my head for this prompt from http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/06/07/fmf-link-up-fly/ was this great track by Toby Mac and I couldn’t resist sharing it: