Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Higher Learning

She looked off into the distance,
Deep in thought for what lies ahead.
She fought off the resistance,
As I yanked her out of bed.

Why did things have to change?
She was happy back at home.
Plagued by piercing nervous pangs,
As her imagination began to roam.

She was new to her surroundings,
Most of her friends had gone away.
In a sea of self- doubt she was drowning,
While I reassured her it would be okay.

After I helped her settle in,
She looked up at me betrayed.
As if  I tore her from her humble origins,
To be thrust in the wilderness as prey.

Suddenly, a welcoming committee of her peers,
Invited her to join them for dinner.
She discreetly wiped away her tears,
As she waved goodbye to me a winner.

When I turned to close the door,
Alas she hugged me all forgiving,
By her side, as she glided down the floor;
Introducing me to her new friends in assisted living. 

-Julie Kemp Pick


  1. The absolute hardest time in any childs life.....tears for both.....

  2. You caught me by surprise. At the beginning, I thought you were talking about a youngster being unhappy in a new environment, which doesn't tug at the heartstrings nearly as much as an older person in assisted living. A wonderful poem.

  3. Hope I can handle it if that moment happens for my parents.

  4. I've been there and done that, for my father-in-law. It's tough, tough, tough. Beautiful poem, Julie, tender and bittersweet. Only those who've been there know just how difficult this can be.

  5. This moment is getting very close for my mother. It's going to be a bad day.

  6. A wonderful poem, what a twist at the end, Many years ago I was warden in an assisted living complex and found the work very rewarding,
    Saying that as I am getting older I hope and pray I can stay independant.

  7. That is a beautiful poem and very touching. It's a vary hard time in the journey of life. It's when you have to give "tough love" to your parents - never easy.

  8. Very beautiful poem. As I was reading it, I was trying to think of one of my typical "wiseguy" responses.
    Nope-nothing to crack wise about here.
    Very nicely done.

  9. You made me cry definitely one of your best.

  10. Delores - I've had so many mixed emotions, but overall I know she's in a safer place after living in a multi-level home despite needing a walker. Thanks Delores.

    Susan - I felt like I was dropping her off at reform school during the drive over, but her mood quickly changed when she saw everything was in place at her new apartment. Of course, she would've done a better job herself. Thanks Susan.

    Alex - Retirement communities aren't for everyone, and with good health, many people manage fine on their own. This happens to be a very pretty place with delicious food, so I wouldn't mind living there myself. Alex, if the situation ever presents itself, you'll be up to the challenge.

    Nancy - Sorry you had to go through that with your father-in-law. Both he and your husband are lucky to have you. I hope your father-in-law is doing well. Thanks Nancy.

    L.G. - I'm sorry that your mom is having health issues. I'm sure you've already gathered information, and are in the planning stage. I made a lot of phone calls before we narrowed it down to three places, and took my mom on several tours before she made a decision. Good luck L.G. and let me know if you want to talk further.

    Yvonne - That's very important work. I'm sure you were of great help to the residents. My mom is in an "independent living" section. Because she uses a walker, it will be much easier for her to take the elevator instead of stairs, and not have to worry about cooking. Just continue to take great care of yourself Yvonne, and I have faith you'll remain independent.

    Mary - I did have to give "tough love," because my mom had a hard time leaving her home of 46 years, but it was just too much for her after her spinal fusion. Thanks Mary and I hope you're doing well.

    Al - Don't ever stop being a "wiseguy!" It's times like these when you need your sense of humor the most. BTW, I did think of you when I was organizing some of my mom's things in her living room. This was the day before my dear friends came over to help me pack and I was by myself. I kept thinking that if I had a heart attack, I could be buried under my mom's shag carpeting for days, before anyone would find me. Only you will appreciate this. Thanks Al.

    Thanks so much Tonja.

    Thanks Anon.

  11. Very touching. At the beginning of the poem, I thought you were talking about taking a child to college. The end surprised me and made the poem more poignant. Very nice.

  12. I wasn't too sure who this was about, but you wrapped it up well. This is a poignant look at something many of us will have to grapple with one day if we aren't already.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  13. Juliann - Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    Lee - I'm just relieved that she's in a nice and safe environment where she can receive extra care when she needs it. Thanks Lee.

  14. This is a great poem. I actually thought at first, it was about a teenager. I'm sure this is a difficult thing to deal with. As my parents age, it's something at the back of my mind.

  15. Nothing is easy when we have to care for those who've always cared for us.

  16. Well done! :-) I'm nearing this stage with my mother ...

  17. What a sweet, touching poem, Julie. I love the hug near the end, and the fact that this is about your mom and not your daughter.

    Take care of yourself, and keep stocked up on tissue, as you journey through this transition with your mom. It can't be easy.


  18. Sherry - Hopefully, your parents will be happy and healthy for many years to come. Thanks Sherry.

    Very well said Carol. Thank you.

    Margo - I hope that your mom just needs a little extra help, and is in otherwise good health. Thanks Margo.

    Robyn - Tissue is good to have around, but an extra dose of chocolate really does the trick. You are such a generous and thoughtful person Robyn, despite having endured so much in a short time. Thank you.

  19. You hit a chord in my world with this heartfelt poem...my mother is but a tumble away.
    Last fall was a close call for her and a wake up call for me, now it's just a matter of time.

    Beautifully written!

    Jenny @ Pearson Report
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  20. Really well done and the ending was a surprise. I also thought of my kids and our upcoming adventure as I was reading.

  21. Jenny - Too much " tumbling" led my mom to her new home. I had hoped to make the transition before she ended up in the hospital, but she kept putting it off. It's good that you see the warning signs, so you could help prevent any unnecessary injuries. Best of luck with your mom, and I'm around if you feel like venting. Thanks Jenny.

    Rhonda - I'm so excited about your trip around the world! Enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity with your family, and I look forward to your online postcards. Thanks Rhonda.

  22. So much said in so few words. What a wonderful poem - and a happy ending.

  23. Once again being serious....when my mom died, I was a little disturbed that we seemed to "yuk" it up. But, the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that it was just a natural way for my brothers, sister, and I to act. Plus (and I'm convinced of this), I'm sure Mom would have wanted it this way. When I near the end of the road, I will want my family and friends to (and I know this will sound coarse) "have a good time with it."
    And...shag carpet? Oh...yeah!

  24. Talli - That's why I enjoy writing poetry now and then, because I tend to ramble on, and it helps me edit my thoughts. Thanks Talli!

    Al - I'm so sorry that you lost your mom. I lost my dad when I was 17, and as difficult as that was, I know that I will still be a wreck when my mom dies even if she lives to be 100. But we will still laugh about all the silly things, and I do believe that's much better than the alternative of shutting down, or self destructing. I agree that I would much rather my family and friends "have a good time with it," when I'm gone. Then at least I would know I wasn't boring. Now I'm going to have to read your book to cheer myself up. I would've been willing to pay extra for page numbers, so I'd know where the heck I'm at! Thanks Al!

  25. Ah, this poem I can relate to. I'm working hard to keep my mom in her home, but it's becoming increasingly difficult. Each day is a test of our endurance, mostly hers, but mine as well. I sometimes am very tired after our visits, but I'm glad for that tiredness. I'd miss it terribly.

    May you mom be with you for many more years.

  26. Beautiful. Great tension-building. I was not sure where this person had been placed, and it brought to mind my daughter's first day at college, moving her into the dorm. A good reminder that these feelings are felt all though life. Complex things we humans are...

    I found you through the A-to-Z blog list. :-) Nice to "meet" you.

  27. Lee - I'm sorry that you're also going through a difficult time, and yes it is quite tiring for both of you. Best of luck with your mom, and we both need our moms for many years to come. Thanks Lee.

    Teresa - It's probably even more emotional dropping daughters off at college than sons, but I also had a tough time with my boys, though they were fine with it. This experience made me feel like I was abandoning my daughter at first. Thanks for following me, and I look forward to seeing more of you. Julie

  28. You are a horrible daughter! I can not understand how you could not have her live with you. Our parents can take care of us, can we not do the same for them? Shame on you!

    1. Why didn't you mention this when you were helping me pack up my mom's things?