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where have all the people gone




where have all the people gone


the ones that said they were mom my lifelong friends


the ones who flooded the icu department of the hospital


where are her sister and brothers


all the cousins and aunts and uncles who said they would be there


where is her son my brother


i am not suprised


i am hurt and disappointed


i try not to get angry


i try not to think that i am it


how sad for my mom






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I am so sorry. I know this happens. When I took care of my parents, I found many of their friends fell be the wayside. It was crippling for me because my parents were so outgoing. They always had parties. They had a lot of friends. They were terrific people -- even in their dementias. My father could bowl me over w/ his sense of humour. I had some bad times, it was really hard but I'm telling you, I would not trade the rollicking good times I did have with them.


The only way I can describe what happens to "friends and family" is they become victims of the "ICK" Factor. Catastrophic injury or illness can do this. Friends just can't take it. Maybe their best intentions are they will, in their mind, try to visit "this week," but can't bring themselves to do it.


When I started to take care of my parents, it was suppose to be teamwork between my brother and me. While my father was alive, my brother came twice. One time, when I had a meeting that I could not cancel (it was about security for an upcoming conference), I asked my brother, who said he was going to be in town and wanted to visit my mother. I told him she was in the hospital and that would be great because then he could get her discharged and take her home. He said he had to get back to his office (out of town) for a survey. He owned his own business so it was nothing for him to call his client and either delay the survey or cancel for another time so he could take his mom home -- a distance of about (5) blocks.


I don't mean to sound like I'm venting--maybe I am but I truly understand what you are going through.


Since my stroke, I have found this same thing happening w/ several of my friends and one of my sons. It tears my heart out but I don't want to force people to come.


Its a tough road and a long journey you are on, darlin'. I hope you get respite and find time for yourself sometimes. You must take care of yourself because if you don't, who will be there for your mom. Look into non-profit organizations in your area who help w/ in-home patients or ask your local church/minister/pastor. There is help out there for you; please take advantage of it. Take Care. LK

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Where are my friends?


No easy way to say goodbye

So just say "Hi" and let it slide.


The bravery upon your face

Can't take the pain away inside.


No friends, no family but you

no rolling back the evening tide.


No place to go, no things to do

Just this small shell you hide inside.


No point in going on sometimes

What keeps you going is your pride.


One day when this is over, done

I'll leave these thoughts of you aside.


So up and go, another day

That bitterness must be denied.


Just do the things to keep on top

For there are angels by your side.


You thought you'd need to do so much

Relax and let them be your guide.


copyright Sue Wilkinson 2005.



I wrote this a couple of years ago when life was pretty tough. Sometimes there just seems to be me, the kids are busy, friends have problems of their own.


The angels are not necessarily "heavenly", they can be the biker who holds the door open for you to go through when you are pushing your mom in the wheelchair, the woman who with a smile helps you bag your groceries, the casual friend who rings and reminds you of someplace you have to go. Helping hands can be on the ends of anyone's arms, most of us just haven't learned how to use them for the benefit of others.


Look around at the world and see what resources are available to you, who you can get in to talk to your Mum for a while while you do whatever. Sometimes friends will come if you call them first.


The "ICU" crowd are "for emergency use only" like the axe behind the glass. They fade as soon as the crisis is over. Whoever comes afterwards are simply the folk who can cope. The best friend might still be that in her heart but unable to put it into action. I pity those caught up in that dilemma, so sad to be subject to such fear of death and dying that it separates you from your friends.


Thanks for this insight into your heart in the poetry you share with us.




PS I wrote the poem for Mum with dementia, not Ray after his strokes.

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I saw the same thing when my late wife died of cancer. During the last weeks and the first two days after the funeral, much company. After that, friends we had socialized with for years forgot my phone number. I don't know why, but it happens. Same with me now that I have had a stroke.

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We have two very good poets in this blog entry!


At first, it's hard not to resent people for falling away. We all go through this after a life altering event like this. But it's a fact of life that our problems and challenges are not their problems and challenges. Old friends have their own to deal with and while they may make time in an emergency, it's unrealistic to think they are going to stick around and help us out on a regular basis. That is a bitter pill to swallow. Relationships change when we change. We lose old friends and find new ones and the transition in between isn't easy.


Hang in there Kerry's mom. It gets easier to accept and move on.



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