One of Life’s Biggest Myths – The Golden Years by Jesslyn Morrison

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Jesse & Jesslyn Morrison

Jesslyn (right) with her dad, Jesse (middle), and his companion Connie.

Jesslyn Morrison’s dad, Jesse, has dementia. He lives in a memory care facility in Modesto, CA, and each time Jesslyn visits, she is struck by the other residents who live there too. Each of them has a life story. Most probably had stories like you and I: full of families, hobbies, work, and passions. Those stories are now mostly hidden away, the resident’s lives dramatically changed. Jesslyn’s compassionate response to those changed lives is reflected in this poem she wrote in dedication to her dad, Jesse Morrison.

One of Life’s Biggest Myths – The Golden Years

They say your senior years are your golden years.
So tell me why my memories are slipping away to a place that I fear.
Those I love are now new faces that fill my mind with questions of people and places that I once knew.
Who are you and why are you here?
Help me, help me, help me
Where did I go? Where did you go?
Still love me, hold me, never let me go.

Greet me with your smile and welcome heart. Don’t think I can’t hear you, understand you.
I’m here…. Looking for answers to the questions that I once knew.
The memories are fading away but I’m here, in my own way.
Help me, help me, help me
Where did I go? Where did you go?
Still love me, hold me, never let me go.

Don’t get frustrated when I ask the same questions – today, tomorrow and the next.
I may not remember today but I remember days long ago.
The past offers me the happy times as my future becomes a distant memory
Where did I go? Where did you go?
Still love me, hold me, never let me go.

Help me save my dignity, for I know not why I hide my money, jewelry, take off my clothes when I shouldn’t and do the silly things I do.
I once was a great provider leading a healthy life. I tried my best to live a respectful life with family, friends, good job – I thought I had it all.
I was looking forward to that day of sitting on the porch with a glass of lemonade (well maybe a beer or glass of wine) remembering all the good times.
And then BAM, thank you mam…  why, tell me why are the lights fading to never, never land?
Where did I go? Where did you go?
Still love me, hold me, never let me go.

As I fade away, all I ask is that you hold on to the memories of days long ago. When times were rich with family and friends and I lived a life of purpose – not one that now makes me scared to not know what I don’t know.
What I’d do for a good day, bad day…  just a day that I could remember.
Still love me, hold me, never let me go…

– Jesslyn Morrison

2 Responses

  1. Dean Dayton says:

    My wife has had alzheimers for the six years and is a care facility .I go to see her every day.It is sad that an outgoing person ends up like this. She was a kindergarden teacher for 35 years.

  2. Seth Broche says:

    Made me cry with compassion. Thanks. I’m going in Tuesday to check why I’m increasingly forgetting things, going to the wrong drawer, getting it wrong. It’s not funny any more. I agree with your refrain, but don’t want to burden those I love and are closest to me with that kind of huge challenge and the conflicts and guilt for not doing enough vs the resistance to pain and loss experienced when they do.
    I love the title. Like so many myths, this one gets it wrong for all but a fraction of people. Still, that is a way to get through the fears and anxiety and live now as much as one can push out the majority of options facing getting old and marching forward towards an ignoble end, and that of your beloved partner in like as well. Either them or you, getting struck and the other having to deal with the loss along with you. “You have to FIGHT” my nurse friends say. Why? How?
    I’m thinking that’s a myth too. Accept reality and go with it, and yes, do pass gently into that night.
    Thanks for helping me face this possibility realistically.

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