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A sharp pain echoes through my heart

Before the tears begin to fall.

And in the darkness of my room

I cry.

For everything that’s ever hurt me-

And all the things that ever will,

Alone in the blackness-

I cry.

And the tears become sobs

And the sobs become screams

And the screams become prayers-

That I cry.

Are Your arms wide enough-

Is Your love strong enough-

To comfort this child

When I cry?

Let me hear Your gentle words

Let me feel Your presence here.

Let me know I’m not alone-

As I cry.

But You are strangely silent

And I feel no arms around me

As I call out Your name

And I cry.

I wail until my heart is empty-

Till crystal pain no longer flows.

And fall asleep among the teardrops-

That I cried.

Your angels sang a lullaby-

Your gift of tears- a sweet release,

And You were with me all the while

I cried.            

Lonnette Harrell

Last night I cried, because I thought about my mother, as I often do. I know she must be sinking farther and farther into dementia, and I can’t do anything about it. I love her and miss her, and I wish things had ended differently. (But I guess she made her choice also.) I wish I could comfort her, in that far-away place she now dwells. How can you be angry with someone who is now probably like a confused child?

I cry because I remember her fear of dementia, and her fear of having to live that way. I cry because I tried so hard to care for her and please her, and she called me hateful names (while she was still in her right mind.) I cry because I’ve always loved her, and I just wanted her to love me back.

I cry because I wish that I could soothe her fears, and I can’t. All of this is progressing so rapidly, and I could see it plainly awhile back. We were told that it would not get better. I knew that her care needs were more than I could handle anymore, and I was already 3 1/2 years into total exhaustion, and sick myself. There should be no shame in saying that I could not continue on as I was. I simply could not. I knew that I was going to die.  But my brother didn’t get it. Now maybe he will.

How frightening it must be, to be trapped in your very physically ill body, losing your mind. It seems like some kind of cruel nightmare, that has no ending. She was so afraid of becoming like the people we saw in the halls of the nursing home (where she was for 5 1/2 months of rehab.) I always reassured her, and tried to help her through her confusion, and prayed that it would pass. It really accelerated after her hip surgery. She was never really the same after that, and we were warned by the Ortho doctor that many elderly people are affected that way by the anesthesia.

And now I can’t get to her. She might as well be in a castle with a drawbridge and a moat, instead of a small house in a small town with my angry brother, and a caregiver. She’s isolated. She probably wouldn’t want to see me anyway.

And I could not go back without becoming totally involved in her care, and I am not physically able to do that anymore. I have been very sick lately, and I just can no longer take the stress of her care, or of her emotional treatment of me. 

That is why she was so much better off in the Assisted Living, where she could get socialization, food she loved, and medical assistance and supervision.  There was a Memory Care Unit there as well, if she needed it later on. But my brother was determined to bring her home, and now he is probably overwhelmed as well. (You cannot possibly know what it is like to care for all her needs until you’ve done it. I could not keep up anymore, and the stress of it all was killing me.) I needed help desperately.

I can only reach her through my prayers. I ask God to comfort her, and strengthen her. I ask Him to take care of her, as I no longer can. I ask Him to soften her heart towards me, and let her memories be of our happy times together (and there were quite a few, in spite of our problems.) I ask God to tell her I love her.

But when I can’t take the pain in my heart anymore, I cry…



  1. Wow…this made me cry.
    Please know that He is with you and listening to you. Crying can be healing. It is a good release for your emotions.
    Beautiful Poem Lonnie.
    Lean on people that accept you, love you and appreciate you – for you.
    You are a good person.

  2. Adopted Child: Thank you for your kind, compassionate comments. It’s a small town, and I hear things from time to time that let me know that she is NOT doing well. It breaks my heart, but I can’t fix it, no matter how much I wish I could.

    I have so many ups and downs in my emotions. Somedays I am so much better, and then suddenly I’m devastated again. I realize that we were almost too close, and joined emotionally in so many ways-some not so healthy. I could never have been a daughter who stayed far away from her mom before this, particularly when she became a widow. I felt totally responsible for her happiness and life, and it almost killed me. I loved her deeply, in spite of the hurts. Once in awhile I got a moment of approval from her, and it lasted me for days. Lord knows I tried to please her. I did everything I could possibly do.

    It is a time of grieving in my life. I cannot pretend like it isn’t. And yet, I know it will not take the place of the grieving when she is truly gone. I have been fooling myself to think that I can rush this process. I can’t. I’ve only been away from her for a little over 4 months-(the longest we have ever been apart once I moved to her town, many, many years ago.) I know she is angry and confused, but I know she feels it too. I am not ashamed to say I miss her, and my heart breaks over her condition.

    Starting with the death of my birth dad, followed by the devastating illness and totally unexpected death of my stepdad, less than 5 months later, my world has come apart at the seams.

    I kept my mom’s head above water for 3 1/2 years, while I was going under for the 3rd time–drowning in a sea of stress, because I was totally overwhelmed–not only with her care, but with her emotional treatment of me. It seems the more I did for her, the worse she treated me. I’ll never understand why. But that had been going on for quite awhile.

    So for now, I simply try to deal with the loss of the mother I never had, the loss of my mom as I knew her, the loss of her mental capacity, and the loss of her presence in my life (as painful as it sometimes was.) I grieve, I pray, and I cry…

  3. I know Lonnie that there are no words that are the “right words” because no one can truly understand your relationship with your mother as your relationship with your mother was unique – it was between you and her. Just as in all of our relationships in life. No one can have the same exact relationship or experience the same exact relationship as anyone else because every relationship is unique between two people. I can relate to a certain degree when you talk about how you were joined in ways and in some ways not so healthy – – but I think if everyone stops for a moment and thinks about those that are closest to them, I think we all could find some “unhealthy-ness” in every relationship. As humans are, we are not perfect and neither are our relationships. I also know what it is like to give so much of yourself to someone and have this not even acknowledged let alone appreciated. It is very, very painful. And one moment, you can be ‘ok’ and the next you can be ‘falling apart’. The fact that this is your mother, makes it all that much harder. I am very sure you do miss her. Of course you would. You had many significant losses in your life in a very short period of time. This is magnifying everything for you I think. I know what I would like to say but not quite how to say it and I don’t want it to come out wrong in words – but sometimes it helps if we find ways for ourselves where we can feel like we are ‘helping’ our loved one – even if we have to do so from an emotional and physical distance…if that is what we truly feel would help us in our mental anguish. I am not sure how this would fit with your situation or if it would at all. But somehow it would be great if you could get to the point where you can be free of the hurt/pain. I am honestly not sure how you would do this but it would seem important for your health and well being. I guess you are doing all you can right now, grieving, allowing yourself to feel these emotions, praying and crying. Letting it out and not keeping it locked up inside. I do wish for peace inside of yourself.
    Also, regarding your adopted daughter and her disappointment with her birthfather. I can only draw from my own experiences but perhaps he is doing her a favor by keeping his emotional distance. This way here, he cannot hurt her greatly like he would if he were to bring her close for a while and then slam the door shut in her face. Though disappointing now, it would be much more so later. Hopefully these experiences will build her confidence, faith and love in her adopted parents – her only true mother and father.

  4. Dearest Sparkle, your post is so sad and I feel so badly for you. It is something that just keeps on going doesn’t it and effects each of us in our own ways. Presently, I seem to becoming more withdrawn each day and you are burdened with the reality of your mother now, the past and how to merge all this to feel a little calmness with in you. Sure, I could suggest but the answers are only in are our own hearts aren’t they. My only little words of wisdom is to remember your own worth and accept that your God has a reason and that you will be rewarded.

    I am sure I have missed a couple of your posts and I apologize. I really am not feeling like writing and am only trying to keep up fourchances.

    Sparkle, take care and I shall say a prayer for you. My best to as always, Frank

  5. Great writing, Sparkle.

    For everything that’s ever hurt me-
    And all the things that ever will

    That hits it.

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