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    Headstall
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Headstall's Reflections - 76. Chapter 76 Gemstones #1 and Gemstones #2

So, this is the time of year, around her birthday, when my mother is on my mind. She passed away a number of years ago, and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I wrote a poem I didn't post because I have to think about stuff sometimes. Upon revisiting this poem, I felt there was more I needed to say... to let some distilled fear out, you might say. So I wrote another poem, and while much different, it contains two similes that are in the first one.

                                                                                                                                                                                    ***

 

Gemstones #1

 

 

Throughout our lives

Answers elude

Like rubies hidden in coal

So much to move

To find a small gem

 

Throughout our lives

We accumulate

Our wealth of knowledge

Like diamonds in beach sand

A bank to sift through

 

Throughout our lives

We strive just to be

Holding our gemstones close

And pushing away our fears

As we search for our purpose

 

Throughout our lives

We flirt with our mortality

Never knowing our fate

Trusting we have an angel

On our shoulder

 

Throughout our lives

We know the day is coming

The one we will do anything

To keep at bay

Until it’s out of our hands

 

 

 

 

Gemstones #2

 

 

Our nimble minds our tenacious things

Holding tenets to which we cling

They keep us busy well into night

Shredding darkness to find the light

 

Yet they can also mire us in games

Causing logic to burst into flames

Accumulated knowledge to what end

When thoughts swirl madly in a toxic blend

 

Robbing us of our personal touchstones

Leaving us as skeletons with missing bones

Tarnishing memories as we grow old

Creating rusted mesh of silver and gold

 

Like diamonds hiding in glittering beach sand

Answers can elude in this vast wasteland

Teasing like flickering fireflies in flight

To chase in hope they’ll soon alight

 

Like searching for rubies within dusty coal

All the while sightless as a common mole

Yet we know they exist, as polished and pristine

As mountaintops and stars unseen

 

That this game will end is my biggest fear

To lose the path to answers held dear

For the gemstones to settle beyond my reach

Leaving only sand on an empty beach

 

*

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts if you have any. Cheers!

Copyright © 2017 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.
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Both of these play with the images of sand and precious stones to compare our personal treasure to the ordinary. Our most precious memories get lost in the sand of regular existence. Our happiest relationships get lost in the tumult of day to day living. These express the sadness of these notions very well. 

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21 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

Both of these play with the images of sand and precious stones to compare our personal treasure to the ordinary. Our most precious memories get lost in the sand of regular existence. Our happiest relationships get lost in the tumult of day to day living. These express the sadness of these notions very well. 

Thanks, Parker. We are all on the same playing field where mortality is concerned, but Alzheimer's changes all the rules. :hug: 

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How beautiful and bittersweet, Gary.

My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and dementia, and she was basically locked inside her body by the time she passed. Your poems, though, give me hope that her gemstones, her treasured memories, were washed out to sea — not so much lost but drifting with the ebb and flow of the tide.

We stand where the beach meets the tide, ours and their lives intermingling. Even when we think they’re gone, like a grain of sand — a hidden gem — a part of them remains with us, just as our memories will live on within our loved ones.

 

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54 minutes ago, Danners said:

How beautiful and bittersweet, Gary.

My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and dementia, and she was basically locked inside her body by the time she passed. Your poems, though, give me hope that her gemstones, her treasured memories, were washed out to sea — not so much lost but drifting with the ebb and flow of the tide.

We stand where the beach meets the tide, ours and their lives intermingling. Even when we think they’re gone, like a grain of sand — a hidden gem — a part of them remains with us, just as our memories will live on within our loved ones.

 

Thanks, Dan. The first poem is about accepting our mortality... we're often allowed to be oblivious, and we can hang onto our  hope... and that makes acceptance easier. Both poems are about our true treasure... our memories as we live our lives, as you so perfectly point out. Your thoughts are beautifully expressed and much appreciated. Death comes for us all, but I can't imagine a worse way to go than losing all the memories we hold dear. I'd like to think those gems are still in there even if we can't access them when we want. I believe it is harder for family than it is for the victim... at least I hope so. :( My mom knew who I was until the final few days.... :hug:  

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1 hour ago, Headstall said:

Thanks, Dan. The first poem is about accepting our mortality... we're often allowed to be oblivious, and we can hang onto our  hope... and that makes acceptance easier. Both poems are about our true treasure... our memories as we live our lives, as you so perfectly point out. Your thoughts are beautifully expressed and much appreciated. Death comes for us all, but I can't imagine a worse way to go than losing all the memories we hold dear. I'd like to think those gems are still in there even if we can't access them when we want. I believe it is harder for family than it is for the victim... at least I hope so. :( My mom knew who I was until the final few days.... :hug:  

A small blessing, that. I’m glad you were able to comfort one another. That lifeline had to be so special, so important, for you both, even if the hope it provided was bittersweet.

The memories are still there, it’s the link to them we lose track of. The brain can often forge new and increasingly convoluted pathways, which is how certain memories remain solid, others become associated with random (and sometimes heretofore unconnected) events, and some are entirely forgotten. The comforting fact remains, however, that they’re undeniably there (scientifically speaking).

I like to think my grandma never had to consider her own mortality, only those who passed before her. A small gift I can hope her mind bestowed upon her towards the end, allowing her a certain level of innocence she wasn’t allowed in life.

Edited by Danners
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24 minutes ago, Danners said:

A small blessing, that. I’m glad you were able to comfort one another. That lifeline had to be so special, so important, for you both, even if the hope it provided was bittersweet.

The memories are still there, it’s the link to them we lose track of. The brain can often forge new and increasingly convoluted pathways, which is how certain memories remain solid, others become associated with random (and sometimes heretofore unconnected) events, and some are entirely forgotten. The comforting fact remains, however, that they’re undeniably there (scientifically speaking).

I like to think my grandma never had to consider her own mortality, only those who passed before her. A small gift I can hope her mind bestowed upon her towards the end, allowing her a certain level of innocence she wasn’t allowed in life.

Again, you express your thoughts so beautifully. I have been melancholy this evening... this was a comfort, buddy. Thanks. :hug: 

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9 minutes ago, Headstall said:

Again, you express your thoughts so beautifully. I have been melancholy this evening... this was a comfort, buddy. Thanks. :hug: 

Any time! :hug:

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I really like the imagery of finding the gemstones among the sand and coal.  They're still there, even if we have to search sometimes. :hug: 

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1 hour ago, Valkyrie said:

I really like the imagery of finding the gemstones among the sand and coal.  They're still there, even if we have to search sometimes. :hug: 

Thanks, Val. Yes, and hopefully they always will be. :hug: 

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Two beautiful pieces, Gary. I guess we all look ahead to the end of life at some point. The older we get, the more aware we become of the possibility. Or the certainty of it, even. End of life happens to us all at some point, and the fact that it's something we all share should serve to remind us that we are never alone in dealing with it. But it should remain an awareness of the future only, and not a burden. I choose to cherish what I have, while I have it, and not to worry about what comes next until I actually get there.

Yes, our lives are composed of memories, and the idea of losing them would frighten anyone. But memories have two sides, and the best ones have others in them, who will remember for us even if we someday lose the ability to connect with them ourselves. I don't think that memories are ever really lost, even with these maladies of the mind that seem to steal them away. It's more like a book that loses its index, its page markers, its sense of order. Finding things, associating them, may become difficult. But while the pathways may become dark, the journey of life itself remains. I take some comfort in feeling that, wherever we go ultimately, those memories - that life - goes with us. Nothing - and no one - is ever truly lost.

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13 minutes ago, Geron Kees said:

Two beautiful pieces, Gary. I guess we all look ahead to the end of life at some point. The older we get, the more aware we become of the possibility. Or the certainty of it, even. End of life happens to us all at some point, and the fact that it's something we all share should serve to remind us that we are never alone in dealing with it. But it should remain an awareness of the future only, and not a burden. I choose to cherish what I have, while I have it, and not to worry about what comes next until I actually get there.

Yes, our lives are composed of memories, and the idea of losing them would frighten anyone. But memories have two sides, and the best ones have others in them, who will remember for us even if we someday lose the ability to connect with them ourselves. I don't think that memories are ever really lost, even with these maladies of the mind that seem to steal them away. It's more like a book that loses its index, its page markers, its sense of order. Finding things, associating them, may become difficult. But while the pathways may become dark, the journey of life itself remains. I take some comfort in feeling that, wherever we go ultimately, those memories - that life - goes with us. Nothing - and no one - is ever truly lost.

Very well said, Geron,and I think you hit on something... we do tend to think of death as only a possibility when we are younger... when we have that feeling of invincibility... and only later in life do we allow our thoughts to settle on the certainty of what's coming. :)  I believe that's why we are as driven and successful as we are with survival... or at least one of the reasons for it... this tendency not to concern ourselves with something we see as so far into the future. I like your positivity. 

It does change, though. I'm not afraid of dying, but not being able to access memories, or not know who my children are... that terrifies me. Again, I like your positive outlook with regard to memories, that we always have them... somewhere, and that they go with us. I do remember my mother telling her mother stories in the nursing home, and she swore she could see the occasional flicker of remembrance in a woman who, on the surface, seemed an empty shell. Cheers, my friend... Gary.... :hug:  

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Danners and Geron have said all that I could and in better words, and I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking our last days aren't an empty wasteland after life's battle is ended.  We may speculate but never know what's occurred, and with no outside observers, history is a blank to be filled in only by physical artifacts rather than living memories.
I want my gems to remain and sparkle and guide me, and I hope I've left some behind for others to enjoy.
My mother's mind was clear to the end before she went into a coma for her last three days, and I'm grateful for that as it gave me time to say goodbye one last time.  With the estrangement by my father, I can go only on what little I heard, and he too remained alert until his end in 2001 at age 83.  His stroke some two years before meant he couldn't live alone any more, so he went into a facility in Florida, and I'm sure that was torment for him...always active, he worked until he hit 70, then did every sport they had where he retired.  
Alas, my stepfather didn't have the same luck as his own mother, who was clear as a bell until she died in her 90s.  He began losing memories in 2003, stopped telling jokes a while later, barely talked at all, and needed help doing everything.  Once my mom was gone, his daughter put him in a facility and he spent his last ten or so years there, but the last time I saw him was at my mom's funeral when he was in a wheelchair and on oxygen.  He didn't know any of us by then, but when he looked inside the coffin he began to cry, so some things were still there even if he couldn't communicate them any more.  My consolation is that though they had failed marriages behind them, they found happiness at last in their final fifteen years.
So, beautiful images and lights for a future unknown, and I'll hope for their guidance when my time comes.

So long as we remember, our loved ones are never gone, my dear friend. 

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5 hours ago, ColumbusGuy said:

Danners and Geron have said all that I could and in better words, and I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking our last days aren't an empty wasteland after life's battle is ended.  We may speculate but never know what's occurred, and with no outside observers, history is a blank to be filled in only by physical artifacts rather than living memories.
I want my gems to remain and sparkle and guide me, and I hope I've left some behind for others to enjoy.
My mother's mind was clear to the end before she went into a coma for her last three days, and I'm grateful for that as it gave me time to say goodbye one last time.  With the estrangement by my father, I can go only on what little I heard, and he too remained alert until his end in 2001 at age 83.  His stroke some two years before meant he couldn't live alone any more, so he went into a facility in Florida, and I'm sure that was torment for him...always active, he worked until he hit 70, then did every sport they had where he retired.  
Alas, my stepfather didn't have the same luck as his own mother, who was clear as a bell until she died in her 90s.  He began losing memories in 2003, stopped telling jokes a while later, barely talked at all, and needed help doing everything.  Once my mom was gone, his daughter put him in a facility and he spent his last ten or so years there, but the last time I saw him was at my mom's funeral when he was in a wheelchair and on oxygen.  He didn't know any of us by then, but when he looked inside the coffin he began to cry, so some things were still there even if he couldn't communicate them any more.  My consolation is that though they had failed marriages behind them, they found happiness at last in their final fifteen years.
So, beautiful images and lights for a future unknown, and I'll hope for their guidance when my time comes.

So long as we remember, our loved ones are never gone, my dear friend. 

We never know what our final years will bring us. I think it's okay, and maybe even necessary to voice our fears, but not to dwell on them. Our hand will be dealt by circumstance, genetics, or something else out of our control. I can only hope I will have my memories until the end, but you're right... my kids for sure will never forget me. Cheers, good friend and dear soul. G. :hug:  xoxoxo

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1 hour ago, patrick1991 said:

Very real and well-written! This was a great tribute to your mom!

Thanks, patrick!  I've missed hearing from you. Glad you liked these... sometimes my feelings need an outlet. :)  Cheers... Gary.... I hope you and your other half are well. :hug: 

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