To begin with we didn't notice you
A shy wallflower that spoke to no one.
That lingered in the shadow
A spectre at the feast.
Occasionally we'd catch a glimpse but then you were gone!
We'd ask around but nobody could give you a name
So we'd forget about you and got on with the party.
But you persisted and you began to be more vocal.
No longer a vague shadow
But someone with more substance,
Like an opinionated visitor, a buffoon who was always right.
A drunken guest that everyone avoided,
That needed dealing with but nobody quite knew how.
You insisted on being heard
You refused to leave
And no matter how often we showed you the door
You lingered in our lives like an offensive odour,
The uninvited guest.
The gatecrasher who took away the future we imagined
Who destroyed the memories of the past,
The stealer of relationships
The isolator of the truth.
We became the people to pity
The party that was no longer fun.
And so our world shrank and you thought you'd had the last word!
As our party took on a different hue!
Times when your voice was the only one we heard
And pain and grief came crashing in
threatening to overwhelm,
Times when laughter was drowned in tears of frustration and rage
But when we refused to listen to the lies
And turned our faces towards a different place
We learnt to dance to different tunes.
Unfamiliar but still filled with the haunting beauty of love.
Lives still seasoned with the grace of God.
Lives that promise a hope and a future.
Jane Burgess, July 2020
Another memory dropped to the floor
Like a leaf from a tree in Autumn
It lay there and waited for the wind of dementia
To blow it away
Lost in a maelstrom of hopelessness
Buffeted by a whirlwind of grief
It was gone!
Would it settle again and be remembered
Or was it gone forever?
Jane Burgess, 2017
We walked today along a path
Dappled in sunlight
Birds were singing
A scent of wild garlic
Was in the air
Bluebells, bright and strong,
Stood like sentinels amongst the gnarled trees.
The brook, winding its way
Beside the path and
I remembered other walks
When we were young.
When hope was high and
Our hearts were full of excitement and joy.
I remembered and I was glad
That we had done those things together.
You were strong and vibrant then
We laughed and loved and all was well.
Today we made a new memory which
Is now buried deep within my heart.
I treasure it and will take it out and examine it and remember.
You laughed and this time you showed me other things
A robin, a magpie, a wood pigeon
You chatted to strangers and made them laugh
And I was glad that we were together.
A different time
A different place but just as sweet
You held my hand and together
We walked into a different future
Unplanned, unsought, but still bright
Still full of love.
Jane Burgess, 2017