April is Poetry month. An entire month set aside to encourage us to not only read poetry but to also try writing our own verse. My original plan was to join my friends in writing some sort of poem each day. On April 1, I had just taken pen in hand and opened my notebook when the call came.
“I’m worried about her,” our aunt’s helper said. “She doesn’t feel good.”
For the second day in a row, I dressed and drove the ten minutes to her apartment where I found our lovely relative dressed for the day, sitting in her recliner, but looking weary.
“I heard you weren’t feeling good today.” I said. “I thought we might check with the doctor.”
“I’m just a little tired. I think I’ll go down and see if I can eat a little lunch,” she replied, ignoring my reference to doctor.
I called my nurse sister-in-law, and we decided to honor her wishes. After all she was going to the doctor on Thursday, so I hung around and we talked of this and that.
At noon, I walked her to the dining room before taking off to do some errands. When I returned later, I found her sitting alone in the empty dining area where she had nodded off to sleep right there in her chair.
“Are you ready to go back to your apartment,” I asked.
Roused by my voice, she replied with a sheepish smile, “Guess I’d sleep better in my own place.”
We plodded back to the apartment where she plopped down in that worn recliner with a sigh.
“Getting old sure is tiresome. I can’t believe I’m the last one.”
The rest of the afternoon I searched for the garnet ring that “my husband” (our Uncle Chet) “had specially made for me.” It disappears from time to time as does her wedding ring, which I found in the process. I hope the garnet turns up soon. It always has before.
I started this poem that evening, but as you can see I’m a bit behind.
Interruptions destroy our finely orchestrated schedules.
A day I thought belonged to me unravels with a simple call.
I go and find her looking “all in” as my mother used to say,
Yet she insists, “I’m just a little tired.”
At 98 years and four months, she soldiers on,
earthly dwelling, structurally unsound,
Supported by an aluminum walker and sheer grit.
Most of her day, she sits in her chair, watching TV or
Regaling visitors with memories. “Did I ever tell you …”
I think of how someday I may be tethered to a walker and chair,
And I listen as if I’ve never heard that story before.