A Soldier’s Final Battle "Dementia"

Where am I? Who am I? I do not know.
I am confused, lost and scared if the truth be told.
I wonder aimlessly down these foreign halls;
Slapping my head in turmoil, trying to remember, trying to recall.
This place here where I stay, I know it is not my home.
I see none of my prize possessions and this makes me feel even more lost and alone.
I have occasional brief glimpses of a memory so far away.
If only I could capture them, or etch them in my mind so they would stay.
Every where I look there is strange faces, people I do not recognize;
Some show me love and kindness; others on the other hand, won't even look me in the eye.
Some of these strangers say they know me, "they say I'm their husband", some even call me their "Dad".
But unfortunately I have no true recognition of my family, just feelings of familiarity, with these people I feel safe and not so sad.
Oh! But, the hurt I see within my family's eyes, each time I can't recall their name.
Their faces look familiar, but I just can't remember who they are, and this causes me feelings of guilt and shame.
All these emotions, anger, fear, confusion, shame and despair all building up within my mind.
I can no longer control my actions, like a tightly twisted rubber band I snap and unwind.
I may say and do things sometimes that may seem cruel and unkind;
But please forgive me! For I have lost all control of my body and my mind.
If you could just walk one day in my shoes;
Then you would understand the pain and anguish that I go through.
You would show me more kindness, love and compassion.
For you would then understand my thoughts and my actions.
You would make me feel more loved and at home.
For you would know how it feels to be scared and all alone.
When you have to feed, bath, and dress me; just put yourself in my place.
I am cold, ashamed, and helpless; scared and displaced.
All I ask is to be treated with dignity, love, and respect.
Kind words spoken softly, a gentle warm touch; this is what I crave and expect.
In my youth I fought for America's freedom and liberty; this I did with honor and pride.
In my last days on earth I face the worse battle yet; "Dementia" with all its rough emotional waves and tides.
It's this last and final battle when I need your help the most, as my advocates, to plead my final plea.
For I want to die as I have lived; with respect, honor and most of all, WITH MY DIGNITY!

© Wanda Herring, RN
Camp Dignity NH3

Dedicated to: Veterans who fought for our freedom.

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