There are now maggots in mum-in-law’s bin,
Feeding on decomposition, death and decay,
No real idea now how long they’ve been in,
Living evidence that her mind’s in disarray…

There is moldy food in my mum-in-law’s fridge,
Aging and decaying behind the closed door,
Try to clear it out and she will throw a fit,
Doesn’t notice the sight or the smell anymore…

The garden’s a mess, the house more so to,
Dusty and dirty, all shabby and unkempt,
Carers and us do all we’re able to do,
Mum-in-law now makes only a token attempt…

The rot has now set in – inwardly and out,
Externally maggot-ridden, moldy and a mess,
But the true decay is internal – no doubt,
As mum-in-law functions each day less and less…

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Tick Tock Tick Tock

Tick tock tick tock tick tock,
All eyes gazed towards the clock,
Counting down to the weekend,
Wishing the working day would end…

Four long hours still left to go,
I wish it were 6.30 so,
I want to go home to my man,
Get out of here soon as I can…

Home to our Friday pizza night,
Pour the wine, dim down the light,
Watch Corrie and then Breaking Bad,
Lots of love and laughter to be had…

Then a lovely lie-in Saturday,
Curry out in the evening on the way,
Then to pub on Sunday afternoon,
Wish the weekend would come soon…

Tick tock tick tock tick tock,
All eyes gazed towards the clock,
Counting down to the weekend,
Wishing the working day would end…

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Final Fantasies

I know now why decent people sometimes kill,
It’s not for money, kicks or thrills,
It’s caring so long with all your might,
With no end to the tunnel yet in sight.

When your life’s destroyed by just one person,
And with each new stage will only worsen,
And all it would take for things to be right,
Is a swift end soon to all our plights.

Specially when that person you don’t much like,
Who treats you with contempt and spite,
So if death comes sooner, so the better,
Would release us now from all this pressure…

Does mercy killing count as a defense,
When mercy on the carer is what’s meant…?
And mercy on her too if you apply logic,
End it now, or she’ll just get more sick…

If I had just one bullet and one gun,
Could the dreaded deed by me be done?
Might it ever go to deed from thought,
With a guarantee I’d not get caught…?

Don’t fret – the answer to that’s a firm “no“,
These thoughts do come, and then they go,
Only saying what many carers probably think,
When they’ve been pushed too far to the brink…

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Ode to Neighbours

Living next-door to dementia,
It really cannot be much fun,
For mother-in-law’s neighbours,
To put up with all she’s done…

Knock knock knocking all the time,
If she needs some help on hand,
We’ve tried to tell her not to,
But she never seems to understand…

We’ve even put a sign upon her door,
Only knock in “emergencies”,
But our definition seems to vary,
An “emergency” is just a “need”.

Like “when should the bins go out?”
Or “my phone’s not working again!”,
Even if we’re due to come that day,
She still just cannot abstain…

Thank God that they’re tolerant,
And understand she’s in poor health,
But how much longer can this all go on?
They’re both elderly themselves…

I live too close to dementia,
But at least it’s not next-door,
For neither we or the neighbours,
Can of this really take much more…

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It’s not wise to depend on someone,
As much as I need and rely on you,
Stake all your happiness on one person,
That’s not a wise thing for one to do.

Shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket,
Invest all your money in one fund,
Gamble all you have on just one ace,
But – with you – that’s what I’ve done…

And if you should ever one day leave me,
Or – more likely – before me die,
I would not have any life left to live,
I wouldn’t even want to try…

Because you are all that I live for,
All that I worship and adore,
My deepest joy and greatest happiness,
I simply could not go on anymore..

Could never go back to my single life,
Never knew I was even lonely till we met,
Please God – grant me and (older!) husband,
Many more a happy year together yet…

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Kicking the Habit

Kicked the habit of my morning Red Bull,
Kicked the sleeping pills at night,
Kicked the coffee – now only green tea,
Kicked the cigarettes – that’s right!

Yes, I’ve upped the daily exercise,
And cut back a wee bit on the wine,
Eating both freshly and healthily,
Well, at least most of the time…

I feel like I’ve improved my life,
But there’s just one thing left to do,
My life will only be okay at last,
When – mum-in-law – I’ve kicked you…!!

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Poor Old Soul

“Poor old soul”, they say, “oh the poor dear”,
But is there really much of a soul left way down here…?
When a part of you dies, does it ascend on ahead?
To wait disembodied in heaven till the body is dead…?

People agonise over souls of their dogs, cats and babies,
But don’t think about the poor little Alzheimers old lady,
Who as every day passes, is dying bit by bit,
And whose body and mind are increasingly split…

If a soul is in essence a sum of your parts,
The feelings and memories you hold in your heart,
The quintessential you that you are,
Can the souls of advanced sufferers truly be on a par…?

Go to a dementia care home – where the most stricken dwell,
In many terrible cases, a mere physical shell,
Is their soul since departed, or is it deep down still there?
Cause down here on this earth, they just haven’t a prayer…

Does God keep their partial souls in a celestial box,
By Saint Peter at heaven’s gates to be fully unlocked?
Does he restore your soul whole – dementia demons expel?
As to have Alzheimers in heaven would really be hell

Thank God I’m an atheist, so it doesn’t matter a jot,
I don’t need to tie myself up in theological knots,
Nor do I need to spend endless time stressing,
Over things like – can sufferers can take last confession…?

Atheism is a cold comfort – that’s a sad but true fact,
Dementia or not, once dead you’re dead – that’s that,
But I also think the alternative question is true,
How could a real loving God ever do this to you…???

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The Photo Album

As you might know, mum-in-law once had a flood,
But out of it came one single solitary good,
Up till then there’d been no family photos around,
Until cleaning the attic, husband boxes full found…

Two suitcases, five boxes – some water damaged it’s true,
But it gave me an idea I decided to then follow through,
I would attempt to unravel the mum-in-law mystery,
By piecing together her whole family history.

For weeks sorted through photos of mum-in-law’s life,
For first time saw photos of husband’s ex wife!
Put them all in order chronologically,
Managed to albumise them all eventually…

From sepia and polaroid to digital age,
A lifetime of memories on every page,
Her parents, grandparents, friends and family,
From the last century down to husband and me.

Her old wedding photos, husband as a babe,
Tennis club, bowls club, AmDram, holidays,
A reminder of happy events down through the ages,
All crammed lovingly into fifty full pages…

And so it was that on one of our group dinner nights,
We presented to her asĀ on “This is your Life”,
Mother-in-law was quite truly elated,
At the photo album for her I had created.

While the others were eating, I sat with her an age,
As she poured over each and every single page
And it was not without a certain sense of pride,
That I saw her face light up at every side…

She still recalled all of the names and the faces,
Remembered each one of all of the various places,
Then repeated them all one hundred times a piece,
A true microcosm of Alzheimers disease…

And now the album lives on her coffee table,
She’ll still look through it as much as she’s able,
And when she dies, to the future grandkids it will go,
The story of the grandma they did not get to know…

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Happiness Is

Happiness is on Fridays come 6.30 pm,
Before us the start of a long, lovely weekend,
Kicking off first with TV, wine and pizza night,
Just for once everything feels quite alright,
All going swimmingly – apart from one thing,
Mother-in-law has just decided to ring…

Happiness is a leisurely Saturday lie-in,
Wake up to one another – all entwined skin-on-skin,
Birds outside are singing in the morning sunlight,
Husband is with me – the day’s looking bright,
But mum-in-law’s no inkling of morning intimacy,
Intrudes on us from afar by calling far far too early…

Happiness is Saturday evening, both watching X Factor,
Eating home-made fajitas – nothing else seems to matter,
Enjoying the happy warmth of our domestic cocoon,
Laughing at all the candidates who can’t sing in tune,
Joking at the acerbic antics of old Simon Cowell,
Oh, there goes the phone – what’s she bloody want now???

Happiness is Sunday afternoons spent down the pub,
Drinkies and Scrabble and maybe some grub,
Sat by the fireside – you can picture the scene,
It’s just a nice part of our weekend routine,
Just husband and I sharing some innocent fun,
Oh God! The neighbours are calling now – what has she done???

Happiness is when it’s just husband and me,
And ends soon as we go from our two up to three,
Oh, but how happy we both could just be,
If not for one certain dementia-addled retiree,
Happiness is fleeting – exists only between calls,
For just the sound of her ringtone puts an end to it all…

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Hello Darkness

(Based on ‘Sound of Silence‘ by Simon & Garfunkel)

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I wish that it were still the weekend,
With each Monday morning always loom,
Feelings of despair and dread and doom,
And a feeling that I will not last the week,
So to speak,
It’s the sound of silence…

Hello darkness, my old friend,
Will this dementia saga never end…?!?!
With every new day a new problem to solve,
As my mother-in-law’s mind dissolves,
Do you ever feel like you just want to cry…??
Well, so do I!
It’s the sound of silence…

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I know I’ve come upon you to depend,
Darkness is always closer to me than the light,
I just don’t know why I carry on this fight,
When it will all just come to nothing in the end,
Won’t it, my friend?
It’s just the sound of silence…

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