Poetry – Footie, I am 6

Dedicated to Jo, my mom

52 years ago my mom made my art space needlepoint chair (Photo: Kathy Morelli, LPC)

52 years ago my mom made my art space needlepoint chair (Photo: Kathy Morelli, LPC)

Footie, I am 6

I once thought life was an exciting adventure.
I stretch both arms up to the bright sun, in a green grassy field, laughing & reaching for a butterfly…

I look in the mirror.
Who is that face?
Death slowly reclaims me to the grassy field.

I once loved to wear backless high heels and pink lipstick, clickety-click.
I’m in a large ballroom, my gown is tight and shiny. I wiggle and dance to the music..the foxtrot…laughing…the room is crowded with people I know…

Past images seen through a misty glass…

You’re in the room. I hug you, I sense how we once were, how we are now.
But when you’re not here, you fade.
And I fade, too.
You hold together the collage of my self.
When I am alone, the collage shifts around. 

I once traveled the world, so exciting and new, open-eyed. 
What I know about today, is the way the sun dapples on the carpet through
the window, how a bird comes to the feeder to eat and 
the trees stand tall and green. 

I know I won’t know you, soon.
Fear and disappointment course through me.
What’s this unnatural thing? I want it to stop.

Sometimes I wake, the night is frightening. I see creatures in the shadows. They are alive and moving towards me. I cower and rage against the dark monsters.

Other times I wake, my emotions crowd me.
Fleeting sparkling pictures flickering. I strain to see. But
they slip away. I’m afraid of tomorrow.

I felt safe in my home in the storm. 
Don’t you love me enough to take me into your home?
Am I not loved? Am I not a person who….should be loved?
I am careful with my feelings.
I learn to be stored away, out of sight.

I once looked towards the future, anticipating exhilarating adventure.

This is my doggie, his name is Footie.
I love him. I am 6.
Mama, do you see Footie? Mama, let’s rub his one white foot. Mama, he has one white foot! Mama, see! Mama, I love him.

When you bring my little dog to visit, I hold him.
When I hold him, the memories come back. I remember what it’s like to have him. I want to walk him. 
When you leave, I can’t remember the color of his fur.
Can I keep him here? I am 92.
He’d protect me from the dark shadowy creatures that come in the night.

Life disappoints me.
It’s not a daring adventure. I once looked forward to every sunny day. Now every sunny day shows me what I am not.

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3 Responses to “Poetry – Footie, I am 6”

  • […] sad, there were no words, no creative art about it either. Until a few weeks ago, I wrote this poem, Footie, I am 6. I seem to finally be able to put some images, emotions and words […]

  • Wow! Typing through my tears. What a beautiful and heartfelt poem from the perspective of your mother having Alzheimer’s disease. I can really appreciate the feelings and emotions that must have gone into your writing this. I have such vivid memories of my maternal grandparents, especially my grandmother both before and after her dementia set in. It is so hard and bittersweet to watch our loved one’s change and slip away. It is a heartbreaking process to love and care about someone who is losing their memory. Thank you for sharing this.
    Kathy recently posted..Time Warp Tuesday: DecisionsMy Profile

    • Hi Kathy –It is most heartbreaking to see them slip away and also to know they know they are experiencing the loss of their sense of self. Warmly, Kathy

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