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. 

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47 comments

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Georgina. What a beautiful poem ! I found it extremely moving . Pauline

A lovely and very touching poem indeed Georgina!
Mariyah

A lovely tribute. I also love robins. Well done. Love.ly memories for you. X

Georgina you have captured the closeness you had and still have, with your Grandfather. A beautiful memory and so pleased the Robin has attached himself to your family - may his future generations continue to do so!

That is so lovely. It brought a tear to my eye . We think of my Dad as a Robin too ! In fact now instead of an angel on top of our Christmas tree we have a robin .
Well done for writing it !

My poem. Who are you, l hear you say::l am your wife you married 1976.you promised to love and cherish for eternity. Who am I, l am me, who will never desert or abandon you. Alzheimers is a cruel desease that's robbed you of memory of family and me. Who am l the one who will love you for eternity.

What a lovely poem.
The beautiful memories you have of your grandad will forever be etched in your mind.

Georgina you’ve written a beautiful poem we all love Robin redbreasts. I completely understand and relate to your story, my mum was killed by dementia in the summer so bless you writing this, your grandad is still there with you

That is so lovely n sweet bless you xx

Opportunity comes to those who quit Waiting and start Looking. Success comes to those who quit Thinking and start Doing. Congratulations on writing such good blog post

My Mum had dementia for 5 years before she passed away, locked in her own world of thoughts and memories . I started seeing a robin in our garden every day, after she died. Dad died 9 weeks to the day after Mum. My robin disappeared. I knew it was because Mum was reunited with Dad. My robin always comes back if I think I haven't seen him for a while and think perhaps my robin has died. If I'm having a bad day or feeling sad or thinking of Mum or need someone to talk to, my robin reappears. I shed a tear and realise that Mum will always be looking after me. Still miss you.

Thank you Georgina. That has helped a lot in my own grieving. Well done.

How true this poem; my beatiful wife suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, she is aware of her very poor memory, and is starting to isolate herself. My glorious wife and mother, I would give anything to have my girl back!

Georgina what a lovely tribute to a special man missed by many, my dear Uncle Brian. Brought a tear to my eye xxx

Georgina, that was absolutely beautiful, very moving , and brought a tear to my eye. I have two Robins visit my garden most days and always look upon them as loved ones who are no longer with us. Your grandad has a beautiful smile, and I truly think he is looking down at you and all your family , with a smile and such pride in his heart. God bless XX

That’s beautiful Georgina and so insightful from someone so young. Your Grandad was my Dad’s best friend and a huge role model for me when I was growing up. I will never forget hearing him come to the back door and asking me “are you alright gal”! I know how much my Dad misses him.

I do some work now in Alzheimer’s research and when I’m having a bad day, the picture of your robin in my mind will give me the oooomph I need to keep going. Xx

Lovely poem Georgina.
As long as there is a robin visiting your Grandpa is still very much here with you, always.

What a beautiful poem , he would be very proud of you and I'm sure he's smiling at all the work you're doing and thinking how special you are. Lovely xx

Loved it - well done you !
I think of my Dad as a robin too and it’s comforting to see a little robin turn up when you are out and about 😘

Georgina precious memories stay in your heart. Robin has a significance for our dad too and I have a chirpy conversation with him when Robin visits my garden knowing my dad is there. Dementia is cruel. Love to you

That’s beautiful Georgina. The saying goes that “ Robins appear when loved ones are near” my husband passed away with Parkinsons and Lewy Bodies Dementia snd my sister 3 weeks after with Alzheimer’s and l have another sister in a care home totally bedridden with Leet Bodies such a wicked condition.
So glad you have beautiful memories of your grandad, hold onto them forever 💜💜💜

My mum died of dementia 4years ago. That poem was lovely. I remember one day sitting with mum. Another little man was sitting near. Cliff Richard was on cd. And then came on the music. The man swayed
His head and tapped the chair arm in tune. My mum was loosing her speach by this time. I started to sing. And mum tried her best to join in. I had the biggest lump in my throat. The song was “the next time “ .

Lovely poem my dad passed away November 4th last year. The one thing he kept right to the end was his smile. We would sit for hours no conversation just holding hands and the smile would appear. The smile is so important as it shows they are still there somewhere but they are there. Make the most if the time you have take photos but always remember the smile. When you do that the robins will appear or sometimes it’s a white feather from nowhere hang on to those moments they are precious.

Absolutely beautiful x

So beautiful my dad also loved birds and he watched them every day and loved them so every time I see Robins or Bluetits I smile x

Beautiful poem George we lost our mum last year to vascular dementia. She used to love the robin that came every day my mum & dads grdn. So sad this illness is so cruel. We'll never stop hoping & praying for s cure.& we'll always keep raising money for research.

Beautiful poem George well done. We lost our mum to vascular dementia. She was a beautiful lady & we all
Miss her dearly. She loved the robin that came to mum & dads grdn & mum would sit & smile everyday.its comforting to know that our loved ones are near us. Let's keep hoping & praying for a cure for this cruel illness.

What a beautiful poem Georgina
You are a credit to your grandad Brian
You are so right
Denies cruel as it denies the recipient of so much too soon
My mother in law also passed away with dementia and my Aunt and uncle have both been diagnosed, I hope that the cure for Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia isn’t too far away
Sadly it won’t bring your grandad back to you, but his memories will live on with you
May your god bless you

Georgina
Your poem sings all our songs
Reflects our Pain of living or buried hurtful journeys
Gives us “ A Hope” how all our loved ones we are caring for would become a “Robin” one day
xx jyoti

Georgina
Your poem sings all our songs
Reflects our global pain of living or buried memories
Gives us hope that our loved one final day would become A Robin
xx jyoti

I enjoyed this so much. Very moving and made my wonderful dad who died of dementia in 2018 come to mind. Do see www.lifestoryhub.com for more ideas about dementia and poetry.

Georgina, How beautiful your poem is, a lovely way to remember your Grandad.
And the words you write are very comforting for you and to so many people too who's loved ones are affected by dementia.

Such a wonderful poem Georgina. I love robins too.

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.

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

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.
.

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

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.

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

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.

Lovely, and sad also! xx

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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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