Spoon-feeding mother

when parting came slowly
as words you forgot
or when you were lost

we thought we had time
to listen to music
to read or to dine

we never could tell

now when you’re silent
and we still cannot tell
but we wait
we spoon-feed you soup
and wonder
if you’ve already left.

Old Woman by Gustav Klimt

For Kerry at toads. My mother suffer from dementia, and now she is almost gone. A terrible parting without a goodbye. I’m also linking up to Friday 55 for hedge.

November 30, 2017

24 responses to “Spoon-feeding mother

  1. I am so sorry, Bjorn. This is heartbreaking. What a beautiful way to hold her and take care of her with words.

  2. Oh this hurts and is so pain-filled and familiar to me. I have seen though where dying persons with dementia have moments of lucidity. My mom did at my second to last visit to her. Keeping you and your mother and family in my thoughts, Bjorn. This is expressed with so much sensitivity.

  3. Few things hurt more than to look into eyes we love (and that loved us), but not be able to see the person behind. I’ve been there… I recognize the mixture of heartbreak and resignation that oozes out of your poem (then again, it might be projection). Still, it’s a very difficult place to be in… not knowing.

  4. wow, heartrending. getting old is really tough; also tough on the people with them. there is so much love in this poem. (I am teary) This last bit is so strong:
    “we spoon-feed you soup
    and wonder
    if you’ve already left.”

  5. This poem captures human experience with the delicacy of the skilled poet, no mean feat. We do cling to the formality of goodbye, as if in some way it can save us a measure of pain, but the word is empty of meaning. For me your tender spoonfeeding says everything of love and farewell.

  6. I am so sorry to hear this, Bjorn. Its not easy coping with that sort of pain as our loved ones slowly ebb out of our reach. The part where you describe that ‘we never could tell you goodbye’ breaks my heart 😦

  7. Your close churns my emotions Björn, for I know…
    My mum left us long before she died and became someone I did not recognise, a stranger, and I grew cold towards her, my only way of coping…

  8. the reality behind these words makes the whole so much more profound and painful-
    “we thought we had time
    to listen to music
    to read or to dine”
    ah how we take it all for granted – and still do not learn. Sorry for your suffering Bjorn

  9. It takes a careful farmer, to see, to plow, to plant, and to care. I think your Mother is at peace, and she would tell you so if she could. Hope that you can be, too.

    My Mom was present until the very end. She died at 96. I wasn’t ready, and I miss her every day. There is probably no good way to die. And yet, if we are living we will all die. Some slow, and some suddenly. I do not know which is best. Death is merciful, and she is faithful.

    I have been told, that when people are in your Mom’s place, their heart flies free. No more worries. I am sorry, for I know it is hard for you.

  10. Intimate, personal, universal and definitely written with courage and from the heart. I think, that for many, the person who comes to replace the one we used to know and understand, has simply “retreated” to a safer place – at least I hope so, and that in spirit, they are essentially free. Sometimes, the body still insists on continuing, and so we are witness. And clearly, for as hard as this is, if you can find the love and compassion within yourself, and know that on some level, you are still loved and treasured, by your very presence, then perhaps, you will be able to find some peace during this transitioning.
    Peace to you and your family Björn.

  11. This seems full of ideas and feelings that can hardly be held in a 55 word frame, yet you manage to express just enough, not too much to overwhelm, but enough for the reader to step into the speaker’s place. A very fine use of this form, Bjorn–thank you for contributing to the journey.

  12. Bjorn, this is perhaps the most painful parting of all, with her vanishing while she is still present. I am so sorry. Perhaps there is a comfort in the fact she is not the one who needs the formal goodbye so much as those who love her do………. and it is likely in every spoonful of soup you feed her. Sigh.

  13. Your poem is sad and so beautifully expressed. It brought back memories of my own experience with my mother. The hardest part was realising I’d lost her even though she was still there. When I finally did lose her I was surprised – and felt guilty – that I wasn’t more grief stricken, but I realised that was because I did my grieving while she was alive. Take care.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

  14. kaykuala

    we never could tell
    you goodbye

    Very poignant here Bjorn! In practical terms it had already been lots of goodbyes but not really understood in the normal sense by her!


  15. I remember when my MIL passed away. She was a shell. It was so hard to watch. All she could do was moan in pain. I prayed for her to be taken. Faster than it was. It was selfish. It was humane. It was a relief when she was finally taken.

    I am sorry.

  16. A wonderfully written tribute to a Mom who won’t respond back to you. My dad probably didn’t know who I was his last three years. But he knew I was “family” and would call me by other family member’s names. I felt so good when the wheel for him turned to me and he called my Jim. Incidentally, he had fallen after eating (he wasn’t supposed to be up by himself) and broken his hip. It could not be replaced because of the location of the break combined with his age. So his last two years were either in bed or in his ‘laid back’ wheel chair.
    We wonder how much they understand, but I am sure she enjoys your visits, chats, and reading to her. Adi, my beagle dog, and were a registered pet therapy team. Adi loved to visit in the Alzheimer’s wing and they ALL loved her. Some shied away though as they were afraid of dogs.

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