Stole Away: A poingnant poem by a son for his Dad

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Two weekends ago when I was at Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Redding, I had the privilege of hearing Rhonda recite a poem written by her son about her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease. I found it inspiring and wanted to share with all of you!

My husband Fernando Rodriguez was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2005 at the age of 41. He passed away on December 23, 2011. The journey that we traveled with my husband during those six years was a learning experience. Our grandchildren learned to have an understanding of people who have a disability. Each was involved with the care of my husband until his death; the youngest being just two when his Papa passed and the oldest 16. Throughout this journey, my husband never lost his sense of humor even when it got so rough. He was an amazing man who loved to the fullest. He did not want us to be sad when he was taken, but to continue to loving and living life to the fullest. This is a poem written by my son Richard Velador that I read during Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Redding:

Stole Away

Through this bleeding pen – and here I am.

My tears drip into this dirty ground,

In the shadows he seems lost, I hope he is found.

Sitting sideways in his chair,

His teeter threatens his fall – still he sits unaware.

A mathematical genius, centered and well composed in all mannerisms of etiquette, has both shoes untied with his shirt sloppily tucked in; ask him to count the buttons on his shirt today – he cannot! In fact many of his buttons are unsnapped. Those which found a place hang snug in the wrong compartments. His eyes are so sad. He looks alone even though we are all here. The creases in his brow along with the curve of his cheeks tell me that he is scared; so scared and all alone. Yet his smile remains intelligent, bright! I know he smiles solely to comfort our worry – not his. No matter how far away he is from us, his care for us is in the utmost. Unselfishly he wakes in the morning and presses hard to find his place in our home because he does not want to be a weight we have to pull across the finish line. He stresses extremely hard to carry his own cross, never minding the fairness or lack thereof. This is his affliction. On his shoulders he wears it proudly!

I see his internal battle. He slips away; further and further away as the day proceeds. I envision his battle. The ground sinks while he struggles alone to stand firm. Like a light bulb he snaps back and there he is – my step father once again; His smile larger than life, his posture upright, unshakable once more.  His high five being the highlight of my day delivers me a smile – we stand two men for a brief moment and for a decimal of forever he is not sick. No matter what this cowardly progression imprints in false notion we are all here for him – he is not alone. Alzheimer will not win. No matter what, my step father will not be stole away!

Through this bleeding pen – and here I am.

My tears drip into this dirty ground,

In the shadows he seems lost, I hope he is found.

Sitting sideways in his chair,

His teeter threatens his fall – still he sits unaware.

3 Responses

  1. Cathy Murphy says:

    Thank you for sharing Fernando’s story and Richard’s beautiful poem.

    Cathy Murphy, Home Instead Senior Care, San Francisco

  2. Shea Lane says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. I’ve been working with Alzheimer’s patients since 2001. I started volunteering while I was still in High School. I know that everyday is a struggle for Alzheimer’s patients. Some people do not understand that it’s also a different day for the caregivers we never seem to have a break and it’s so sad to see our loved ones go downhill in such a short amount of time. It is very heartbreaking when one of our own do not recognize us any longer. Thanks again for sharing Fernando’s story and for writing a great poem!

  3. Thank you for sharing this. My mom has been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia at the age of 50. It’s hard no matter what, but especially when they are so young. My kids will never know my mom the way she once was, as my oldest (now 7) was a baby when she first exhibited her symptoms. It is a devastating illness. Thanks again for sharing.

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