Winter, a Poem

I wrote this poem in college sometime around 1995. My college poetry class project was to write something about our childhood. This poem was the result.  It is written about, and for, my grandmother. When I was 7 years old, in 1982, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. At the time it was not a common diagnosis. She passed away about 8 years later. I will never forget how those years affected me.

I remembered this poem the other day when I read this post by fellow writer and blogger Ann Marquette. Thank you for inspiring me to share it. 


My cheeks burned as tears froze,
I huddled deep in my snowsuit shell.
The winter hardly comforted then.
She was sick,
I didn't understand.
The sickness had a name,
but I couldn't pronounce it.
They said it was the forgetting disease.
No wonder she couldn't remember my name.
She was my only Grandma.
She wasn't allowed to be sick.

So I left. The house frightened me.
The snow seemed safe,
But everything just hurt. I wished
it would all go away.
I could go nowhere.

From the yard,
in the window, I saw my Mother.
Why couldn't she make it stop?

I saw her, too. Blue eyes distant.
She didn't know me,
who knew how long it would last.
I had a million questions,
no vocabulary to voice them,
that must be how she felt.

The winter yielded no hope.
And I stood, seven years old,
watching my Grandmother
through a window.


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