138. The Rebel in You

You resent

Being told

What to do. 

From the moment 

You rise

It begins. 

We dress you,

Then coax you 

Toward the kitchen

And breakfast.

You take your time;


And resistant. 

You tell me,

“Oh, here we go


Do this Lesley,

Don’t do that.”

At the table,

Three meals a day,

You seal lips

Say no,

And push our hands 


We persist—

You don’t always mean

What you say.

Some meals, 

It’s just a matter of time.

So after dinner,

Your husband left you

Seated still

With your glass 

Of Ensure to drink.

He stepped away 

For a moment,

While I was at the sink.

When he returned

To his surprise

Your glass was empty.

A victory,

He carried on 

And on—

How proud he was,

What a good thing 

You had done.

The rebel in you

Smiled sweetly,


All his accolades.

Your emptied glass


Into the pocket 

Of your apron

Had yet to be discovered.

The Poetry of Dementia is an ongoing project to share my family’s journey with my mother’s illness as a year of moments. We do not know whether my mother will live a full year—or perhaps she’ll live longer. Her dementia has been a bittersweet and beautiful journey that has already taken us places we never imagined. Loving and caring for her at home has fundamentally changed each of us, and daily reminds us to live in the present with love, trust and patience. Click here to read from the beginning.