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The Woman I Once Knew

When I was little

You were so strong

So capable of doing anything

How I admired you


I remember our trips to the store

The candy you’d buy me if I was good

The garage sales and trips to the library

So many books, scattered throughout the house


I loved talking to you

And laying by you

Watching PBS or perhaps Murder She Wrote

Listening to your laughter


You have always been full of life

The stories you told me

How I loved to listen to the tales of your youth

And hear how it was for you and Grandpa


I liked hearing about my mom and uncles as kids

Look at old photographs and smile

So entranced by the past

And how you got so into the stories you told


As I grew older, so have you

But you always seemed so vital

Always looking out for me

Ready to help me when I needed it


Time slowly caught up with you

Your movements slowed

Simple tasks became hard for you to do

But not wanting to admit you needed help


It broke my heart as I watched you

You went from the woman who could do anything

And the one who always helped others

To the one who needed our help


I promised you and myself that I would step up

I would give back

Be there for you

For you’d always been there for me


At first, it wasn’t so bad

Sometimes I’d get frustrated

Grumbling about picking up after you

Comparing you to my little boy


But really, it wasn’t so bad

And afterall, you had done way more for me

I didn’t want to see you give up your home

You deserved to keep as much of your independence as possible


A fragile woman

But still so proud

Unwilling to accept help

Still the same fire in your soul


But as more time passed

You grew weaker still

And then you got sick

I felt so lost


A stoke

That’s what they say happened

But I wasn’t willing to give up yet

I vowed to keep trying


We brought you home

After you promised to use a cane

But you were proud

And that promise was soon broken


The falling increased

It’s happening all the time now

And you get sick a lot

I feel so helpless


I feel like I’m letting you down

I promised I’d help you

That I’d give all I could

For as long as I had strength to do so


It’s become too much for me

My pride has been fighting me for weeks

I too am so proud

Unwilling to admit defeat


I am truly your granddaughter

Full of fire

Determination is in my blood

As it’s been in yours from the start


Hard headed

Stubborn, they say

You, my mom, and myself

It’s just who we are


But I look at you

And I cry

You need help

Beyond what I can do anymore


It breaks my heart

I listen to you snoring

I know that I should sleep

But I can’t


My heart is troubled

As I remember the woman I once knew

I’m so broken

Because she’s just a memory now



Comments on: "The Woman I Once Knew" (2)

  1. Poignant. Perfect. So true. Your feelings (and subject) and my profession are what initially inspired my book–and thus, my blog, Help! Aging Parents. Thanks for sharing.


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