Who Will I Be?

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's five years ago. This poem was written at the skilled nursing facility where she spent ten weeks following a nine day stay in the hospital. I stayed at the hospital with her day and night and at the nursing facility from early morning until after she fell asleep at night. She was afraid and wanted to retreat to her bed. She asked to lie down every seven seconds during the time when she was awake. Her body ached from so much bed time and she was very verbal about the pain. This poem reflects the angst I felt then.

Who will I be when I am done with this?

I worked so hard to find who I am,

Only to put life aside to help you through the process

Of disintegrating from the mother I knew,

Kind, caring, creative and funny,

Into a disinterested, whining, tossing and turning ghost of a person.

“Get out of bed and live a little!” I want to yell,

Knowing that soon, bed will be your world.

You will go silent,

And lose the ability to eat, to breathe and to circulate blood.

I will watch and care for you through the years

This disease runs its course.

I will give me to help you digress with dignity.

After its done, who will I be?


  1. This is incredibly poignant work. I'm sorry you and your mother had to go through what you did, but this piece is hauntingly good.

  2. This is just beautiful work. Thank you.

  3. Thank you both. I am not a (educated) poet, but this overwhelming desire to put the circumstance to verse hit me every time I went to the nursing facility. I had to put pen to paper and express my feelings.

    I'm working on an Alzheimer's chapbook. This is one of the (formerly) unpublished poems from the collection, "Palindrome."