Grief – A Simple Theory


Grief – A Simple Theory

Nonsense Verse


To accept acceptance takes an accepting ’tude.
You have to strike an accepting mood.
Sometimes to reject acceptance is just rude
But you have to go through a long prelude,
Which takes time because you don’t want to be booed,
Nor to be seen as an unaccepting crude dude.

So, you try to accept acceptance, you try, except…
You still have receptance to exceptance and your expectance
Is to fight it all on your own, and you take up that stance
Of resistance, ’cause you’re so afraid to take that chance
On life. You’ve shut the door and refused the dance.
Little do you know that acceptance of life will enhance.

So accept acceptance, you fool, it’s cool,
Acceptance to exception proves the rule.

I write these lines for my dear friend in England who seems to be stuck somewhere in the stages of grief. She is trying to recover from the loss of her wonderful husband.

The Five Stages of Grief

At any of these stages, a person with Alzheimer’s, too, might get stuck, as in groundhog day, doing and saying the same thing or things over and over and can’t get beyond it.

This stage also should pass. But it’s a tough stage to handle for the prime care giver and the family.

For me, having gone through all of these stages, plus twelve more as care giver to my Ann, I have found acceptance a hard stage to complete. But I have a Simple Theory:…

Acceptance is not betrayal

**Acceptance is not betrayal**
This is worth repeating.
Some people seem to feel that it is. But…
It is a fact of life, natural and necessary,
And it can’t be rushed.
There is no end time on grief,
Neither is there on love.
Once you accept grief,
And no longer actively grieve,
Your grief eases and you can start to move on–
Which is also natural, inevitable,
And necessary.

I have found that by getting out whenever possible, and by talking about it, has brought a sense of relief, and of community – as opposed to the feeling of being alone and struggling all of the time, like my English friend.

It is helping now in my recovery from that extended challenge of care giving and loss.

In doing so, I have found acceptance in the poetry community.

ALSO: Acceptance is the final stage in My 12 Stages – my proposed next book – about moving from reluctant care give to activist and advocate, how poetry saved me from clinical depression.

It is also a double memoir.

My twelfth stage – acceptance – was to learn baking. So far, no good. Too busy with poetry and the book Chasing a Butterfly: A journey in poems of love and loss to acceptance.
But that is a good thing.
Besides, all baking products, it seems, are loaded with sugar.
And that is another battle I’m fighting.
Sugarless dessert recipes, anyone?
Send ’em along.


NOTE: The illustration above is strictly for the blog and its baking references. It’s use here  is not intended as an advertising gimmick.     #caregiver    #dementia   #Alzheimers

Posted in Advocacy, Care Giving, Desserts, Grief, Grieving, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanks Tagore


Thanks Tagore

Thanks Tagore

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of appearing at the Vancouver Tagore Society’s
West Coast Tagore Festival 2017.

I was one of eight reading with Ariadne Sawyer of World Poetry and World Poetry Café on Co-op Radio 100.5 FM. Ariadne read her poem “Tribute to Gandhi & Tagore,” then introduced the rest of us. The six ladies on the team each read two lines of the poem in their own language. Each read magnificently.

Together, this comprises the “Woven Tapestry of Word.”

I read the poem “Journey Home” by Rabindranath Tagore, India’s Nobel Prize for Literature winner.

This is the poem:

Journey Home – Poem by Rabindranath Tagore

The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long. 

I came out on the chariot of the first gleam of light, and pursued my 
voyage through the wildernesses of worlds leaving my track on many a star and planet. 

It is the most distant course that comes nearest to thyself, 
and that training is the most intricate which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune. 

The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, 
and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end. 

My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them and said `Here art thou!’ 

The question and the cry `Oh, where?’ melt into tears of a thousand 
streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance `I am!’

The words resonate with me in that I had that long journey of the long, long goodbye with  my Ann’s Alzheimer’s. Different journeys to be sure, but spiritually similar, I think. Still learning to deal with the latent sense of guilt and the slow struggle to full acceptance. Experiences like this help.

The event was held in Richmond BC’s Gateway Theatre and what a wonderful theatre it is.

It was hosted by Duke Ashrafuzzeman, a kind and generous soul who, with his team and Saturday co-host Kasturi Guha, worked long and hard to present this professionally done programme.

Duke’s Friday co-host was our talented Bernice Lever.

This great event has helped to open up new horizons for me, who works mostly in isolation, writing, writing, writing. And fighting technology – internet and computer programmes which seem to have been kidnapped and made far more complicated than it need be. Not to mention the multitude of evil-doers who invade and destroy. And the gremlins that have eaten up the whole of my gmail. Tabula rasa.

But this blog is to thank Ariadne Sawyer for inviting me onto the team, and to Duke Ashrafuzzaman and team for demonstrating courtesy, professionalism and open friendship.

I was introduced to this great Indian tradition by Gopakumar Radhakrishnan, who invited be to be a judge for the Rabindranath Tagore Award International 2017 English Language Poetry Contest.

I have been honoured by both events

This is what working together looks like.

Posted in Alzheimer's, Celebration, Featured poet, Friends, Friendship, Grieving, Guest, Memories, Poetry, Thank you | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

About Feeling Tired: The Power of Sleep


for the power of sleep



The Power of Sleep


Do you sometimes feel fatigued from your care-giving duties? Of course you do. We all do.

Even during our ordinary working lives we burn too much of the candle and meet Fatigue!

When you get tired, your brain turns to mush. This is a well-known and oft-used cliché. Both are familiar – fatigue and cliché. Cliché’s are truisms in such cases.

The question is, what do we do about it?

Duty is relentless, a constant companion. We get so used to it, we forget there is any other state. And, we are too tired to do anything about it.

Probably the best and probably the only way to cope with this is rest.

Yes, and how do you go about getting rest, you ask?

Become a thief. A thief of time. Just steal the time. Here and there.

And when a real chance opens up for you, just drop everything. Nothing else is important for the time being. Lie down. Sleep. Sleep is restorative.

We know this. I know this. I live in a house where everybody else rises when it’s still night. I get disrupted, and disturbed sleep is destructive to the restorative process.

So, of course, and naturally, I get tired in the afternoon. There is nothing for it but to take a nap, because the brain has turned to mush and my productivity sinks like a winter temperature. Luckily, since I am “Retired!” – HA_HA_HA_HA_HA – I CAN take the time to NAP. Hoorahh!

This wasn’t so easy when Ann was still here fighting with Mr. Alzheimer’s all of the time, and there were some desperate times – but, as you’ve heard me say – You Are Stronger Than You Think! Well, I’m still here, aren’t I? I didn’t go completely goo-haw, even though I thought I had.

When she slept, I slept. And wrote. And slept. Fatigue followed me around, but I got enough winks in to carry on.

(This was mostly after the hump of desperation and depression. I had a turning point after a crisis when she turned on me, accusing me of not loving her any more. Acceptance is a hard stage to reach for the care giver.)

So, for some reason – no doubt exhaustion – I actually got some restorative sleep last night.

This morning I woke up after a broken 7 ½ hours – an almost record: average maybe 5 1/2 to 6 hours – and I was feeling a whole lot more able and energetic. Still do 10 hourse later.

Ah! The power of sleep.

You can read my fatigue poems in Chasing a Butterfly: A journey in poems of love and loss to acceptance – the Alzheimer’s Poems, with Poems for Everybody.

You can read samplers of the book here: –        Friesen’s –

And for further reading:
#caregiver #dementia #Alzheimer’s


“Your husband is tired because having dementia is tiring.”
— Elaine
So – When he sleeps, you sleep. Damn the housework.

You can read Elaine’s column here:

Elaine is Dr. Elaine Eshbaugh   –   as in Welcome to Dementialand, where you can read lots of useful stuff, including humour with dementia.

Far too much stimulation for the ALZ brain to sort out.
You, the care giver, have to wait it out.
You are his nerve-calming pill, his calm in the storm, his rock, his pillar.
You are care giver.
You are strong!


Don’t forget to check out my tribute book to Ann, “Chasing a Butterfly.” Go to: –  Friesen’s  –

#caregiver    #dementia   #Alzheimers

Posted in Alzheimer's, Dementia, Fatigue, Hope, Retired, Time Out, Tired | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

I fooled her and startled the star


Ann for I fooled her and startled the star

I fooled her and startled the star

I fooled her and startled the star.

We were on holiday. We reached Ottawa. Loved the place. Favourite spot: the grand, unbelievable library, inside and out, of the Parliament buildings. This is an absolute Do Not Miss!!!

I spotted a poster for one of our all-time favourite performers. I snuck away and got two tickets. I secretly arranged for our travel partners to look after the kids. They, the kids, were very young then.

I got Ann ready. She bugged me about where I was taking her. I was stolid. I kept the secret.

At the theatre, I actually covered her eyes and walked her through a very curious, amazed and amused crowd. I signalled the hush-hush procedure so no one would speak the name.

I even got her into our seats – right up front. She was aching, visibly, to know who the heck it was I’d taken her to see. Finally the house lights went down.

And the star band leader, husband of the singing star, ambled onto the stage.

“Oh,” my wife squealed. “It’s John Dankworth.”

John stopped dead. He glanced out, toward us, it seemed. Then he carried on, picked up his saxophone, and began to play. What a thrill.

Then he played the real star onto the stage: Cleo Laine. CLEO LAINE. And JOHNNY DANKWORTH.

Only the two most brilliant artists in the world.


And! What! A! Performance! They! Put! On!

Cleo can break you heart when she sings “London Pride,” or “Streets of London.”

Not to mention what they do with Shakespeare.

John Dankworth was only THE band leader of his day; and he did amazing film scores. (Well, at least one that I saw. It mesmerized me. “Putting on the Ritz.”)

Needless to say, I was in Ann’s very good books for the rest of that amazing trip. And, well beyond.

This is how we were…before Alzheimer’s.

I am eternally grateful that I was able to treat Ann with this forever memorable concert. We were transported. To some unknown heights. The memory still gives me shivers.

(Shirley Bassey can do that to you too. Remember “Goldfinger?”)

OK. Feeling a little nostalgic? And me writing on Friday that I’ve had no holiday for years and years and years. Nor a concert for several. My last concert was a treat from our son, who took me to hear Hall and Oates. They done good.

Both concerts could be considered a holiday in my books. So refreshing.

So bring on the music, it sustains life.

Don’t forget to check out my tribute book to Ann, “Chasing a Butterfly.” Go to: –  Friesen’s  –
#caregiver    #dementia   #Alzheimers


Cleo Laine for I fooled her and startled the star      Cleo Laine

CREDIT: Permission pending


Posted in Alzheimer's, Care Giving, Fooled You, Fooling, Humor, Memoir, Memories | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Holiday for Me

***HEY FOLKS:  Pictures are back. Whoop-eee!!!


No Holiday for Me

H. W. Bryce

Work day calls, work day grows,
Late to home, nobody knows
Where the time went, it’s totally lost;
It’s not coming back, pay the cost.

Early to bed, early to rise,
Overtime calls, no surprise,
Taking care of one’s own parent,
Time in Hospital, must pay rent,
Meetings to go, days go by,
Life goes by in circles, though you try.

Years happen, routines repeat,
Can’t keep up with all the tweets,
Now count decades, hectic living,
Stress and strain unforgiving.

Haven’t had a break for thirty years,
It’s been work, work, work, duty, careers,
No break in there, no break at all,
Too much to do, always on call…

So, no…no…no break at all…
What do you call that? Hol— Hol— hol—
“Holiday?” Yeah. No holiday for me.
No break, no time, no holiday – for me.

I think the Grinch has stolen my time
’Cause I don’t seem to have so much as a dime
In time, as life has taken me over
And choice is a trampled clover.

No holiday for 30 years

For me,
Sickness happens, happened to my wife;
Guess what folks, no more life
For me, for her in society,
No more time for piety,
No time to breathe, never a rest,
Must be brave, fight on is best.

It can happen to you, any old time
You’ll find yourself in a never-ending grind,
You’ll want to scream, you’ll want to run
Because life has now no more fun.

Oh fatigue of course takes over your life
When it’s work, work, work and that’s your life,
And you will see your life as a great big stink—
But you are far stronger than you think.

And so it was, no holiday for me,
Thirty years on but still I see
High value in the service of love,
In going far beyond and above.

I think the Grinch has stolen my time
’Cause I don’t seem to have so much as a dime
In time, as life has taken me over
And choice is a trampled clover.

No holiday for me.
No holiday for me.

To check out my book Chasing a Butterfly, go to: –

Friesen’s  –

#caregiver    #dementia   #Alzheimers


Posted in Alzheimer's, Care Giving, Dementia, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Full circle: Circle of life

for Full Circle: Circle of Life

Full Circle

Circle of Life

from Gael Schwalm Fisher of Ontario
(mostly her words, she said)
With her permission

My Dearest Sara Jane Elaine…

One day I will repeat the same things twice…
I will repeat the good old days and stories I have told you so many times.
I will forget special occasions…
I will need you to be my eyes as they grow old.
I will need your hand to hold…and as we cross the road.
I will need you when I cry for no reason…
I will need you to love me and Accept me just the way I am.
I will need your advice when I can’t understand…
This is the “Circle of Life”…
and I know you will always be not only my Daughter,
but my Best Friend.,
I Love YOU and Thank You in Advance…


H. W. Bryce

Before all this, I mothered you.
I took care of all your needs.
Before all this, you looked up to me,
You always came to me for help…

I remember you, a little girl,
So sweet, blue eyes and hair with curls.
(I-I remember…)
You fell down and hurt your knee
And came to me to kiss and cure

Your tears disappeared right then.
And often through the years
You shared your thoughts, your hurts, your needs,
And always gave me love…

I’m sure I remember you…

What was I saying, dear? I can’t recall…
Except to say, I think, love was all,
All we ever needed, all we need now…
I think that’s right…please take my hand.

I seem to forget a lot these days…
I even sometimes lose my way…
Funny how you’re always there…
Ha ha. Aren’t we the pair?

“It’s quite all right, Mother, dear,
I’m here. I will always be here for you,
I promise you that. I see you have a scrape
There on your arm. Let me kiss it better.
There you are. Right as rain again.

“Let’s get you ready for your bed now.
Give me your arm, we’ll get that blouse off…
That’s it. Other arm. Good. Now your nightie.
All set now Mom. Pillow plumped. Good night.
Yes, I will sit with you, in case you need me.

“I’ll be here, my dear, I’ll here,
Don’t you worry now, I’ll be here.
Be at peace now, God rest your soul
Go to sleep now, I am here.

“Good night mother. I love you.”

(Written in haste, as life happens, hastily, rough and ready.)

Photo credit, find the photo here: –

Friesen’s  –

#caregiver    #dementia   #Alzheimers



Posted in Advocacy, Alzheimer's, Care Giving, Dementia, Love, Memory, Poetry, Remembering | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

There Is No End Date Set on Love

for No End Date


There Is No End Date Put on Love

There is no end date put on grief,
No limit placed on loss,
You can grieve, long as you please,
Take your time to find your ease…

There are ways that you can do this,
There is no limit put on tears.
You can as usual carry on
And nurse your grief till final dawn.

No end date to grief and sorrow –
But, no end date to love and care,
Or kindness, hugs or kisses,
No stale date on filling wishes!

There is no end date set on love ,
The limit goes beyond above.
Feel free to hug your heart out,
It will help to win this grievous bout.

Nor is there any limit set on faith,
There you can always find relief;
No end how strong that you can be,
No limit how far that you can see.

There is no limit put on heart size,
Nor the width and length of hugs.
No grief can kill resilience,
You will shine again, with brilliance.

No end date to grief and sorrow
But no end date to love and care,
Or kindness, hugs or kisses,
No stale date on filling wishes. –

Friesen’s  –

And for further interest, you can visit:
#caregiver    #dementia   #Alzheimers


Posted in Alzheimer's, Care Giving, Dementia, Grief, Grieving, Loss, Love, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment