Georgina's poem dedicated to her Grandad: 'The Red Robin'

Georgina, 21, has written a poem inspired by her Grandad Brian, who sadly died of dementia. It's about his favourite bird, a robin. Whenever she sees one now she smiles and thinks of him.

My Grandad, Brian, was diagnosed with dementia while I was in secondary school. Unless you’ve been affected by dementia in some way, it’s hard to explain the real heartbreaking impact that it has on the people you love.

To see someone get upset or frustrated because they can’t do what they used to, to see their memory deteriorate and to not remember some or all of their life, it can't be put into words.  

Grandad always put others first

I would go round my grandparents’ house a few times a week and my grandad would always give me the brightest smile and ask how I was. On the darkest of days, his smile truly lit up the room.

BrianGeorgina's Grandad Brian.​

He would always reply back when asked how he was with, ‘Not too bad, not too bad,’ even when I could see he was unwell. This reflects how selfless he really was, forever asking how others were doing, forever putting others first.

This poem is dedicated to a loving husband, father and grandad, who loved watching the little red robin in his chair.

The same robin appears at the house to this day. It’s a reminder to always treasure the moments we have with the people we love the most. 

Robin

Brian's favourite bird, the robin red breast, on his bird table.

Grandad, our lives are incomplete, the sun doesn’t shine as bright. You will forever be my role model and will always remain the brightest star in the sky. 

Together we will find a cure, together we will beat dementia

The Red Robin

by Georgina Stray

You sit in your patterned armchair every day,
Not knowing what to do or knowing what to say.
You find it hard to remember what you have just done,
But sit and listen carefully to the birds which have sung.

You sit so peacefully, trying to remember,
All of the memories that we have shared together,
But you struggle, due to this horrible disease,
So instead you decide to watch the birds in the trees.
There sits a red belly robin, on a nearby branch,
‘Robins are my favourite’ you smile and glance.
The little things that remind us you’re still here,
Even though the memories may not be near.

So every morning we would sit watching the birds
Waiting for your favourite robin to appear,
Even if you may forget, even when your mind isn’t clear.
Just to see you smile at the robin again,
I could sit and watch  this for hours, my friend.

Now I sit and I watch on my own,
Hoping that the robin isn’t far from home.
And when I see that robin, a tear is in my eye,
Knowing you are there, that you are nearby.
Although you couldn’t always remember
I miss you and your smile,
And these are memories I will treasure forever. 

Dementia, we won’t let you win,
You can take memories, but we will never let you in.
You take the people we love from us,
Take their memories, their love, their trust.
But we will continue to build on every day,
Making new memories even if they may fade away.
You won’t take his smile, you can’t take the robin away.

If you have a question about dementia or need some support, call our helpline to speak with our expert advisers, or join Dementia Talking Point to chat with other people in your situation. 

Dementia Connect support line
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48 comments

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Bless you darling girl. I looked after my late husband who lived with Alzheimers and my late Dad with vascular dementia. Both loved robins so your poem touched my heart.
Your lovely Grandad will always be in your heart. You did him proud! Xx

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7

Thank you Georgina for giving us such lovely act of art which now will leave in me (and hope in all that read it) another beautiful memory, for life!
God bless you and your family! And the robin :)

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8

Lovely words, my Mum also loves the birds and the trees

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6

Lovely words with such good insight to the mind of someone with dementia. You obviously loved and understood your Grandad really well and have made a lovely tribute to him with this poem.

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9

So beautiful, and I guess many of us are in touch with your words, pulling at our heart strings, I know that they are pulling at mine. Rob, my husband loves to engage in bird conversation whenever we are outdoors, he tweets and whistles back to the birds and they back to him. Thank you for sharing your Grandads story with us.

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8

A lovely poem for your dear grandad
expressing the true admiration for him.
Memories will always be with you even
when the going gets tough just remember
to keep battling like your grandad did and
remember his smile also the robin.
We lost my dad/grandad in November 2019 to Dementia also let’s hope one day
a cure will be found for others alike.
Thank you Georgina for sharing your poem.

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6

Beautiful poem as I too sit with a tear in my eye well done xx

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12

Lovely, and sad also! xx

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Georgina, that is breath taking! Your granddad is with you and still smiling when the Robin comes. Your granddad love for you will never stop. Your tribute confirms it. Keep him in your heart. God bless you always.

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10

Thank-you for sharing your wonderful poem. It is a beautiful reminder of your grandad.

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11

Your Grandad will be very proud of you Georgina. Robins are beautiful birds and I believe they are here to send comfort and guide our feelings in the situation we face in life.

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Wow!! Reading with tears in my eyes, simply beautiful Georgina. Well done, I'm sure your Grandad is smiling down at you now x x

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14

A story: It wasn't the robin that came bob bob bobbing
to see my Mum but Mr & Mrs Blackbird. They came every day.
If they didn't Mum would fret. Where are they, are they okay?
Out in the garden she would slowly go to put out feed and replenish the water bowl. They replaced the cat you see
and gave her routine in her day. She loved them and there
was a special bond between Mum and her birds.
Then one day there was only Mr Blackbird. She grieved for him and would sadly say I hope he gets a new wife. He's lonely on his own, just like me.
Then Mum went into residential care and we had to sell the house so she could be looked after and see people every day.
She never mentioned Mr & Mrs Blackbird again or looked for them out of the window or went into the garden. It was not the same anymore. My Mum did not like change. She liked her world and caring for her birds.
Whenever we see blackbirds in our garden we instantly think of Mum. God bless her, as she is now gone, like Mrs Blackbird, and we miss her. Treasured memories. It's the little things that can be so comforting.
My Mum had Alzheimer's and now my Husband has it. He loves to see the birds too and feed them.
.

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12

That is such a beautiful poem Georgina, thankyou for sharing it with us. Keep your memories close and never let them go.

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7

Georgina, this brought a tear to my eye. We’ve sadly lost a few family members (including our mum to dementia) over the years.

May they all now RIEP.

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