Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Same Color of Hell

Life lingers
to magnify
its indignity.

A woman
crawls upon
her rug
feeding
on crumbs
and dementia.

Reality is dying
inside a mind
that cannot
discern
that the
urine
she lies in
is her own.

She reaches
for shadows
that speak
from picture
frames,
her present
disappearing
further into
the past.

There is
no division
in day
or night.
The hours
are all
the same
color of hell.

Abandoned
by a son
who placed
more value
on liquor
than her life,
her body
waits for
death
to free her.

©Susie Clevenger 2012


This poem comes from a phone call to my sister today. She made a visit to a woman we have known all our lives and she discovered her living in horrendous conditions. She called the woman's son and he said his mother could die in that apartment alone. He just didn't care. My sister called the Adult Protective Services and they are sending someone to assess the situation and see what can be done. 





19 comments:

Laurie Kolp said...

Susie- This brings me to tears. I was friends with an old lady whose daughter didn't care either; she would have just let her rot to death. My husband and I were all she had. She didn't want to let go of her independence even at 94. I miss her so much. It's been two years. I hope this lady can get some help.

Ginny Brannan said...

Wow. I work in a Nursing Home/Rehab facility. We have several patients with dementia/alzheimers. Many have regular visitors and some have nobody. But at least they are fed and clean and well taken care of. I don't know which is sadder, the poor woman, or the son with no heart or soul.

henry clemmons said...

I used to visit nursing homes to read to the residents. I became familiar of what you write. Very touching poem and one that brought memories back that I actually enjoyed. They may not remember the smile they gave me, but they did smile, and I do/still remember and use a lot of insight I gleamed from those visits even today in my writing. Excellent poem.

Brian Miller said...

dang susie...ugh...dementia scares me honestly and to see it makes me so sad...you hit a place in my heart with this one...

Semaphore said...

What a terribly heartbreaking portrait you paint of that family, both the woman in horrendous conditions and the uncaring son. It is unthinkable that such situations exist, but they do.

JC said...

I hope someone can help her. How sad though that her relatives are no where to help.

Orange UaPoet said...

Dementia is such a cruel way to fade...and you painted this soul's situation masterfully.

Thank you.

poetjanstie said...

I don't know what I can add to your already poignant story, Susie, and to the poignant comments from those above, who've been moved by it and by their own experience and observations. It's your own words of introduction "It isn't pretty, but often truth is not" that gives the essence of this. I think it is relatively easy for a Poet to capture hearts and minds with beautifully chosen words, rhythm and rhyme describing the positive and pleasant emotions of life. But how to chose the words to attract the attention of readers when you fall to describing human privation and indignity, particularly when this is so close to home and involves a condition that increasing numbers of us will either observe or experience in the future, we would rather not think about. Now that's hard.

You've captured all of that ugliness here.. beautifully, if you'll pardon the irony.

Heaven said...

This is so sad and sickening. And not only that, the son or family member didn't care. I hope she gets some help ~

Happy day to you ~

Mary said...

Painful, painful, painful. You wrote this situation with such clarity. I do hope that this woman does get the help she needs and deserves.

http://inthecornerofmyeye.blogspot.com/2012/05/i-wish-i-were-blind.html

Jessica said...

Ah - this is the type of poem that a small part of me hates stumbling onto... the really powerfully written ones that hit you like an emotional whirlwind you weren't expecting.

This is a horrendous and heart-breaking situation - captured flawlessly.

Mama Zen said...

This just kills me. Great write.

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

Wow, what an amazing write.Sad to hear that your poem treats this woman with more dignity than her own son.It is such a hard condition that ravages mind and body and you handled it so sensitively, great great poem.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Susie, what a heartbreaking story. One day that cold hearted son will be old. Sigh. Thankfully adult protective services have been alerted. Your sister has done that woman such a kindness.

Victoria said...

Susie, this is heartbreaking and a reality I encountered all too frequently thoughout my nursing career. You've written it so well.

hedgewitch said...

Heartbreaking, and mercilessly well told, Susie. You have no idea how much I relate to this.

ayala said...

Susie, this is sad and it breaks my heart.

Mystic_Mom said...

Heartbreaking for her, chilling on the part of her son - so proud thought that you all are doing something for her! This poem should be posted on every advocate page for those who wish to speak up for the neglected and abused...it is amazing.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

This is so sad Susie and says so much.

I work in a care home and know the sadness associated with dementia. My mum was a resident here as she succumbed - my husband has early onset - 49 when diagnosed and is still at home (with me)thirteen years later.

One day I will not be able to care for him - but I do not worry about what is to come as it would destroy what we have now.

I am not thinking of the 'son' you describe but can truly understand why some relatives find it too painful to visit our residents. Until you have experienced dementia of a loved one - it is impossible to appreciate the pain involved.

My entry to dVerse touches on the same subject.

Kind regards

Anna :o]