When the Parent Becomes the Child

Remembering a mother’s love as she increasingly forgets

When I was but a boy of three,
my mother took good care of me.
She cooked my food and washed my clothes
and dressed me for the day.

She helped me tie my laces tight
and tucked me in my bed at night.
She put my needs ahead of hers
and never once complained.

When I fell down or lost my way,
my mom was never far away.
She recognized my helpless state
and made me feel secure.

But now my mom’s “the child” in need
who struggles daily to succeed
at little tasks that tax a mind
that frequently forgets.

She needs my help to get around
or look for things until they?re found.
And when her eyes betray her fear,
I hold her trembling hand.

At times her needs can drain me dry,
but when I start complaining why?
I think back to my childhood
and how she cared for me.

* I dedicate this poem to all who identify with the season of life in which I find myself. May God give us all the grace to face the challenges of what is to come. I especially want to honor my brother Marc. My only sibling lives in the same community as our mother and as such deals with the issues surrounding our mother’s dementia much more than I do. I am grateful for his tireless effort and often unappreciated care.