Meet My Partner


Meet my partner


Meet My Partner

Meet My Partner, you’re gonna love him.
He will win you over like he did to me.
Living with him is living out on a limb,
Life with my partner is a dizzying spree.

He’s got his fingers deep into my heart,
And he’ll never let me go, he loves me so.
I’ve lost all resistance, I don’t want to part,
I feel that my skin’s all aglow…

But then he twisted the knife
Deep into my heart
He drained my resistance
Till I wanted to depart
And he won’t let me go
His grip is so firm
And I am so tired
That I have to confirm
That I am crazy and he is right…

The Third Partner

Meet my new partner, his name is Dementia,
He’s a son of a bitch and he’ll win every time.
You cannot divorce him; recommend him? Nn-tia
He’s stolen everything that used to be mine.

The third partner, you and me – and Dementia,
Who insists on the dominant position.
He hogs the limelight, the lunch, the minutia,
With his primary A-type disposition.

If you see him a-coming, run like hell,
If he catches you, he’ll ring your bell;
Call the police, hire an assassin,
Do everything you can to excise him.
For he WILL seduce you and make you his own,
Then with a twist of the knife, he’ll excise your heart.

Shun him, run away from him, shoot him in the foot,
For as a third partner, he makes a good foe.
In passing a compliment, he spouts filthy soot,
And from then on, your life will be filled with woe.

Meet my third partner, uninvited as Three,
He’s stolen everything that used to be me.

–H. W. Bryce

*Inspired by a response in Crisis Prevention site, “You’ve got a third partner here, and its name is Dementia.”

Photo:    #caregiver   #dementia   #Alzheimers

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

Inside, Outside, All Around the Mind


Inside, Outside, All Around the Mind

Inside, Outside, All Around the Mind

To Marianne, Along the Side of the Road
Inside, Outside, All Around the Mind was written
In response to “no comment” on Extroverted Introvert
AND inspired by mirella Patterns of Soul Development, the hero inside.
–H. W. Bryce

Inside, outside, all around the mind,
Ego hides behind a cloud.
Wait now, comes a noisy crowd,
Whadda they want, what’s to do with me?
Inside the self the ego hides behind me.

Inside out join the coffee club,
Jabber, jabber get to the nub
Of the matter, white, or black or grey,
Think outside the box
There’s so much fun with dividends to pay.

Which am I an extrovert who plays the game
Or introvert who plays self blame?
Who knows what’s the name to call me by
I’m sure I do know, now, goodbye.
I’m going now to sort out all of that.

No wait, I want to be more brave.
I want to learn just how I should behave.
Wait, I know just what it is that I should do:
Stand up and claim my rights, and that is true.
I must let loose the hero who’s inside.

So move aside, this shy and coward me.
Step away from my shadow, let me BE.
Let me go, I want to join the fun
I can learn to do what they know how to do,
So meet the new me with a new point of view.

This must echo the kind of thing going on in the dementia brain, judging by the behaviour of some as they dance around making a decision or making a choice. The strain on the face may be an indication as they try to tell you what they want or need. Especially when they are worrying about, “What’s happening to me? Am I still me?”     #caregiver    #dementia   #Alzheimers


Discordance by johnhain

CC0 Creative Commons  Free for commercial use  No attribution required   Coffee

Posted in Alzheimer's, Care Giving, Decisions, Dementia, Hero, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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