141. Upon Reflection

Growing up

You made me 

Self conscious

Of my looks.

I never passed

A mirror

Without looking.

I felt your scrutiny

And my inadequacy,

But never stopped 

To wonder—

How you saw 

Yourself?

I watch you now,

You never pass

A mirror

Without looking,

And I wonder

How do you see 

Yourself?

I asked you today

While you gazed

At your reflection

Who you saw

And how you felt.

You didn’t answer me,

You said instead,

“Come on, let’s go.”

Then when I turned

To walk away

I heard you say,

“You have a fat heiney.”

I spun around—

“What did you say?”

“You have a fat heiney.”

And I see at last

That who I saw 

Was only your reflection;

The way you felt

About yourself.

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.