Friday, January 10, 2020

Papa: Writing from Struggle

Photo by Amy LV

Students - Occasionally when people get older, they develop serious memory and reasoning problems. You may have heard of Alzheimers Disease, a severe condition affecting memory and reasoning. Today's poem is about how even when an older person may develop dementia (an overarching term which includes Alzheimers), this person is still the same person. If you love someone who has developed such problems, one thing to do is to remember what they once loved and knew and talked about. Talk about these things. You can ask questions about times from long ago, and your loved one may even remember the faraway past better than yesterday. If your loved one does not remember, do not worry. Just show your love.

My poem today is written in three quatrains with the even lines repeating. It is a simple structure, and I hope to share a simple message: We can still love those we love, even when they change, even when they struggle. This is when people need our love most.

Watch for struggle in your days. You might choose to write about it. We all struggle in different ways at different times, and finding words for such moments and years can help us...and others too.

Sally is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at SALLYMURPHY.COM.AU with a book announcement, a poem, and information about her offering for #authorsforfireys. We invite everybody to join in each Friday as we share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship. Check out my left sidebar to learn where to find this poetry goodness each week of the year.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Oh, my. Even though this poem is good for young people, I'm a pretty old "young person" and I really feel the weight of it...even as it ends on a hopeful note. I love this line in your teaching, "Watch for struggle in your days." Yes, dear ones...even that will become beautiful in time.

  2. Thank you for this poem. My mother is having some cognitive issues and I find it so hard to face. But my father is still here and the balance of the two of them works.

  3. Dear Amy, your poem PAPA, hit hard my memory strings and stirred my emotions so much. My late Mother struggled with Alzheimer's, and it was happening in front of my eyes which was such painful experience vfor me. Often, she 'd be gone and be back for a while until she went to her own world totally. It was the most difficult time in my entire life first accepting the fact and trying to understand it and help, and finally accepting that there was no cure... just LOVE...unconditional love because... she STILL was my dearest Mother who just got lost ...Your beautiful advice to the students who read this post and everyone else who faces this kind of struggle in their lives, "We can still love those we love, even when they change, even when they struggle. This is when people need our love most." says it all. Thank you for your loving heart, your thoughtfulness and such a master writing that goes beyond literary qualities and teaches HUMANITY in its purest meaning.<3

  4. Amy, this poem brought tears to my eyes. My stepfather has moderate Alzheimer's. He still knows us and still has "twinkly eyes," but it's so hard to watch him decline. I also love your advice to write about our struggles. It's not something I'm often brave enough to do. Thank you for this wise post.

  5. Oh, Amy. As one who is noticing the onset of decline in health and mental acuity in their parents, this strikes a familiar chord. Cherish the memories and continue to make them while one can. -- Christie @

  6. Amy, “This is when people need our love the most.” You are a beautiful human being, inside and out. Thank you for sharing your love and talent. It moved me deeply on this cold day.