Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Birthday, Aunt Edna!!

My dear Aunt Edna is 99 years old today.  Since I am getting over this cold/flu or whatever it is, I have been holding off seeing her.  The cough is pretty much gone  and I did pretty well with yesterday's hour at the art show, so I plan to bring cupcakes to her tomorrow.  She lives in a residential home with 5 other little old ladies.  They all pretty much have some level of dementia but they enjoy each other.

I love this poem I found when we where closing her home:

What Do You See?

What do you see friends, what do you see?
What do you see when you look at me—
A crabby old woman, not very wise
Uncertain of habit with far away eyes.
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try.”
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe
Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will
With bathing or feeding, the long day to fill.
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes friends, you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I move at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother
Brothers and sisters who love one another
A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon a lover she’ll meet
A bride soon at twenty—my heart gives a leap
Remembering the vows I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure, happy home
A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast
Bound together with ties that should last
At forty, my young sons have grown and gone
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn
At fifty once more babies play round my knee
Again we know children, my loved one and me
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead
I look at the future, I shudder with dread
For my young are all rearing young of their own
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel
Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart
There is a stone where I once had a heart
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells
And now and again my battered heart swells
I remember the joys, I remember the pain
And I’m loving and living life over again
I think of the years, all too few, all gone too fast
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last
So open your eyes friend, open and see
Not a crabby old woman, look closer—SEE ME.

--by an elderly woman in Ashludie Hospital near Dundee, England
Found in Aunt Edna’s papers

Aunt Edna, known for her wonderful laugh

Aunt Edna in 2008 with me on the left and Teresa on the right
She still has her wonderful laugh.  Though Alzhiemers has affected her so much, her caregivers love that she always has a happy attitude.

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