Dec 15, 2010

for my grandmother

My mom's mother, Christine Mercer, has lived the past 16 years with Alzheimer's disease (life expectancy following diagnosis is approx 7 years, less than 3% live more than 14) and is in the final advanced stage and will hopefully slip away in her sleep very soon. Technically she most likely will die of starvation/dehydration as she is unbelievably healthy otherwise but has now forgotten how to swallow and feeding intravenously at this point is practically inhumane (many in this stage often die of infected bed sores etc.. to no fault of any caregiver, anyone who is willing to offer care is purely a saint)


WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


Taken from the book ~ When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
Edited by Sandra Martz Papier Mache Press--Watsonville, California 1987

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