January 01, 2015

Love in a Time of Dementia

Frederick Smock

Editor’s Note: Helping your clients deal with the decline and death of a loved one is profoundly difficult. Not everyone can find the words to walk clients gently through this difficult time. Lawyers can only do so much. Poets, though, can provide a different perspective. Poet Frederick Smock was brought to our attention by Issue Editor Charles Keeton. In his later years, Charley has studied poetry and creative writing with Professor Smock, who teaches those subjects at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. In response to Charley’s request, Professor Smock wrote this essay.

In her dotage, my mother became quite senile. At times she could not identify my siblings or me by name. However, she believed that she owned the nursing home in which she was living (she did not), and the first week of every month she would ask me if everyone had turned in their rent checks on time. I assured her each time that they had. (Why ask for trouble?) “Good,” she would say, “I do not want any unpleasantness.”

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