161. Breathing Lessons

Your husband

Was late

Calling

This morning. 

I lingered

In bed

Breathing—

Imagining

How I will

Feel. 

When he does 

Call

His face 

Is somber. 

I am accustomed

To this—

Like a weather man

On location

Waiting 

For the camera 

To go live,

He stares into the ipad

And waits

For our video

To connect.

His expression

is serious. 

He tells me

The weather 

There,

Here

And in Alaska. 

Then he smiles

Tells me

Good morning;

And our conversation

Begins. 

I realize

That his face

When he calls

To tell me 

You are

gone

Will resemble 

His meteorologist

Look.

I can not 

Know

In advance

What will come

When he opens

His mouth

To speak.

Each morning

I see his face,

My heart slows,

And I wait. 

I am 

Constantly 

Conditioning

For your 

Death—

Remembering

To breathe. 

Like an expectant

Mother

Practicing 

For a pain

She can not

Imagine

But knows

Is 

Coming. 

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.