"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


sundowning arrives
with agitation and tears
night is her sorrow

her weathered hands reach
for yesterday’s window sill
strangers block her view

squeaky wheels wander
echoes whispering from rooms
hell is paved with tile

©Susie Clevenger 2017

For those who might not know the term "sundowning" I have provided a definition. My mother had Alzheimer's and every evening she suffered the trauma of sunset. My mother died in November, 2007. I still grieve.

Sundowning, or sundown syndrome, is a neurological phenomenon associated with increased confusion and restlessness in patients with delirium or some form of dementia. 

Real Toads ~ The Tuesday Platform


Gillena Cox said...

my first encounter with the "sundowning" term; sad. Thanks for sharing

much love...

Sanaa Rizvi said...

This is so poignant.. I am so sorry for your loss, Susie. *Hugs*

Rommy said...

I am so sorry for your loss. This was an honest and striking piece. I feel like anything I have to say about it would be shallow next to its power, especially that last gut-punching line.

Thotpurge said...

So sorry for your loss.. the last line is heartbreaking.

Fireblossom said...

With the exception of AIDS, I can't think of a crueler illness.

rallentanda said...

Very powerful and sad poem. i am so sorry this happened to your mother .You must have suffered watching her pain as well.God bless you.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

My (late) mum had vascular dementia and would rally and then incite the escape committee to take action each evening. Sadly, as her illness progressed, when awake, agitation became her constant companion, and sleep, the only time she appeared to be at peace.
My husband has frontal lobe dementia and luckily it has treated him kindly. He is apathetic, but happy.
Before retiring late last year, I had worked as a nurse in care/nursing homes for over twenty years, so know and understand the phenomena and realise the deep distress it causes those who sadly suffer it and indeed those who view it.

Jazzbumpa said...

My mother in law had vascular dementia at the end of her life.
It was very disturbing at times - she would see things that weren't there.

My mom passed two years ago at 94. She had a long gig and went pretty quietly, but it was still wrenching.

I understand your grief.


Sherry Marr said...

Susie, what a sad journey that must have been, for everyone. And how you must miss her. Your poem is beautiful. Her hands reaching for yesterday's window is - perfect.

Mama Zen said...

This is gorgeous, gut wrenching work.

Kim Russell said...

I completely get this, Susie. My great grandmother, my grandfather and my mother all had dementia. On 9th January it will be a year since Mum passed away.

Toni Spencer said...

Alas I am too well aware of the term "sundowning or sundowner's" as my mother died this past June from the same disease. My heart goes out to you in your loss. the last lines brought tears to my eyes.

Timoteo said...

I had a friend that I watched descend into this living hell day by day. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Marian said...

Oh, man. Hits home. Sending hugs to you (as always) xo

Vandana Sharma said...

Diseases like this not only devastate the patients but also their families.

Anonymous said...

so sorry that both she and you lived with dementia. And little wonder therefore that your poem is so precisely poignant - these lines speak volumes:
"for yesterday’s window sill
strangers block her view"

Brendan MacOdrum said...

It's a nightmare, this sundown shriek: does the terror of this moment lie between the darkening of day and the blackout of the mind? Sharply recalled here.


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