Seismic Shift

“I hardly know how to be myself anymore.”

~ Rodney Crowell

When we walk into the locked ward of this senior’s facility, my wife’s father sits in a chair outside his room, hunched over, physically shrunken from the man he once was. As my wife approaches, he looks up, says, “Hello Lorette, you look lovely today.” MegAnne replies, “Dad, I’m your daughter, Margaret-Anne, and this is Gary, my husband.”

the old dog spins,
bites at his tail
a child again

Formerly mentally quite agile, this man – who walked miles every day well into his seventies and early eighties to attend an esoteric mix of university classes; who daily devoured a wide range of non-fictional reading material; who watched only fact based public television and world news with a raw appetite for new information – looks up at me, clearly not recognizing us, points at his head and in a child like voice, apologetically says, “It’s broke.”

leaves twist and turn,
as they fall
a different colour today

Today, sitting at my computer trying to make sense of a haibun I’d written a few days ago, I fret over my own mental changes. Frequently, in conversations, my thoughts trip over each other, neither making their way completely out of my mouth nor fitting smoothly together in the flow within my head. Too often, I believe a name is on the tip of my tongue but it’s actually lost in the bitter taste of forgetting.

I find myself increasingly muddled, anxious for order and routine, certainly much less mentally agile than I used to be, handling thoughts like the heavy weights I struggle to use in my morning exercises.

I get up to do something and stand befuddled, wondering where I was going and what I wanted to do.

a list of basic reminders
on the fridge door
my own echo, "It's Broke."