16 year old Anders was inspired to write a poem during a visit to his grandfather's care home. Poetry helped Anders to deal with the pain he felt as he watched his grandfather struggling to communicate.
Anders' grandfather, Charles Malcolm Hargreaves
When my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia, around six years ago after suffering several strokes, I wasn't sure what the implications would be, besides him losing his memory.
I was patient with him as he began to make the odd mistake, such as forgetting the name of a place or losing his keys.
A close bond
Prior to my grandfather’s illness, I was fortunate to have a close relationship with him.
He was a very keen sportsman, and we both enjoyed playing golf.
Even in his seventies, despite the fact that following his stroke he lost all use of his right arm, and consequently had to use his weaker left arm to strike the ball, he continued his competitive streak.
He made no allowances for the fact I was just 10 years old!
I often used to stay at my grandparents’ house, where I was always made to feel as though I was the most important thing in their lives.
Anders' grandparents, Charles and Carita
Dealing with the pain
However, around three years ago, my grandfather's condition drastically worsened, and I was completely unprepared for it.
Watching him attempt to string a sentence together, whilst sat in the care home, was a real struggle for me.
So, to deal with the pain that I felt, I wrote this poem, which contains the observations I made during my visits to the care home, and how they made me feel.
A poem by Anders Davis, aged sixteen
Let us remember, those who falter and forget.
Those minds that search and halt. And set
Out once again, on their fruitless quest,
Like a student who knows, that he’s failing a test.
Except they are blind, to the futility of their hunt.
Until they return empty-handed, and come out with a grunt
To us, starved of their sense, and craving their soul,
As we patiently nod, whilst they go on their stroll.
Blindly, through their barren brain deprived of life,
Trapped in bodies incapable of feeling pain. And for the wives
And husbands? Well, they sit and wait for a lucid moment,
But when it comes, it goes just as fast. Stolen,
And replaced by oppressive confusion,
What looks like hope, Is just a cruel delusion.
How to remember, before they were stripped of their mind.
When there was life in their smile, and they were cruelly blind
To their wretched fate, that would change their world beyond description,
A tragic condition, with no prescription.
Their mind is plagued, but their heart stays untouched,
Stays beating, stays loving in a body so corrupt
That when sobriety scrambles itself to the surface,
The enslaver interrupts, and the prisoner forgets his purpose.
Visits become scarce, and smiling becomes harder,
Life is based on pairs, and I feel as though I’ve lost a partner
And friend. Dementia, I cannot mend, but memories, I can remember,
And so, I’ll build a fire, from the dying embers
That I spend with you, so that when you depart,
Your fire will be burning, deep within my heart.