It’s like she left…

Image from

In the image above it appears that the son is fading from his mother’s memory, or from her ability to recognize him. It is not that she is fading, it is rather that everything around her is. The image seems to illustrate for us that it is we who care for our suffering parent/partner who are leaving; in reality it she who is failing to capture the memories, the likeness, the image.

It seems fitting then to commemorate National Alzheimer’s Awareness Day (September 21 each year), by offering one of the poems written by Michael Mark. His collection – “Visiting Her in Queens is more enlightening than a month in a monastery in Tibet” – is written in the theme of his late mother’s diminishments from Alzheimer’s.

For anyone who has walked with or is walking with a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, you may recognize the portrait:

Portrait in Alzheimer’s Disease

It’s like she left and came back with a new haircut

left and came back with a scar

left and came back with different eyes, not

the eyes everyone said we shared

but the scar was gone

and she spoke a strange language and

left and came back without a son and

left and came back and never came back.


Poem from Michael Mark’s book:

Visiting Her in Queens is more enlightening than a month in a monastery in Tibet.”

This Rattle Chaptbook Prize winning collection is “a kind of family photo album for the final years of a life. As dementia progresses in Michael’s mother, each poem is at once a snapshot, a foreshadowing and a memory. And like memories, each is revealing, accurate, and blurry.”


To learn more about Alzheimer’s go to the Alzheimer Society of Canada.


About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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3 Responses to It’s like she left…

  1. kostas says:

    Truly beautiful, evocative language from you and the poet you quote.

    Liked by 1 person

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