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Out of the Blue

Alzheimer's and grief. Not the most exciting topics to write about, are they? Sometimes, I wonder why I feel pulled to write about them. Should I continue? I don't want it to be depressing. Who wants to hear a sad story? Then, when I am with a group of people who have been affected by Alzheimer's or dementia, and talk with someone who grieves a loved one, my answer comes without a doubt. Both are painful, with blessings snuck in. Both hurt deeply and ache for comfort. Grief walks in our shadows. Dementia rents out space without a signed contract. A world without Alzheimer's is hope like I've never seen before. Conversation invites understanding. Stories bring us together. Just when we feel alone, new friends have arrived.

Today, a memory circles my mind. Last March was the start of my mom's rapid decline. A super challenging time. But I remember a special moment when she began to recite the poem, The Arrow and the Song. It was a poem she had learned at a young age, but the first time I had heard it from her. She couldn't remember all of it, so she had me look it up and read the rest. And that was it. A poem out of the blue. A moment of comfort and words that served me food for thought then, and now. Thank you, mom.

Dear Friend,

You are my strength, my hope, my all in all.



The Arrow and the Song

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,

That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow, still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.

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