To listen to this interview click on this link: https://soundcloud.com/user-308274075/dot-ted-a-life-long-love-story
Ted and Dot Morgan were married on April 8, 1952. On March 9, 2016, after many years of a loving and committed partnership, Dot was admitted to a dementia care unit in the small town in western Kansas where they had made a home and raised a family. Shortly after Dot left her home of nearly 60 years for good, their daughter, Deanna, suggested to her father that he write poems to help him process this tragic development.
Ted has been a lifelong amateur poet, having self-published a book of his poetry for family and friends, so poetry was a familiar medium for him to use to express and come to terms with his and Dot’s experiences and feelings during this difficult journey. Family, friends, and caregivers who have read these remarkable poems have encouraged Ted to share them with a broader audience so that those with loved ones suffering from dementia might find comfort from knowing that they are not alone in the feelings they are experiencing. What follows is a selection of three poems out of a series currently totaling thirty-eight. They have been numbered in the order in which they were written.
Before reading the poems, you might want to listen to this conversation Ted had with his oldest son, Ron.
Ted and his children, Ron and Deanna, have selected a few of Ted’s poems from his Sad and Lonely Series of Poems to share on this blog site. The poems below are just a small selection of the poems Ted has written as part of his grieving. His journey with Dot continues, and so does his writing.
SAD & LONELY #18 By Ted Morgan
Today my Dot was sad and depressed
She just wanted to come home with me
This is extremely hard for me to see
She even said she didn’t want to be
It makes me feel as lost as is she.
I don’t know how much she knows
But I do know when she’s not happy
And when she’s not, neither am I
But in her presence, I can’t sigh.
I’ve decided to visit her every day
And not stay very long
It seems to be better for us both that way
But it’s hard to know right from wrong.
On the street I’m asked, how’s Dot
And I don’t know what to say
It depends on what she remembers
And this changes from day to day.
One day she will be happy
The next and she will be sad
Then she sleeps until very late
With those who wake her, she will be mad. TRM
SAD & LONELY #9 By Ted Morgan
I write each day to ease my pain
Not really sure there is anything to gain
Lifetime memories of the one I love
A gift to me from God up above.
She is oh, so, very special, my little lady
Nothing about her was the least bit shady
She cared for me more than she should
That care I wish to return, if only I could.
Today I’m going to visit her a while
She’ll look at me and perhaps smile
Depending on who she thinks I am
Her memories of me are becoming quite dim.
I now record the visit referred to above
Questionable recognition, response not one of love
Friendly, but emotionally slow to react
True recognition, just not an established fact.
The nurse came, group exercise in store
She agreed and moved toward the door
Then she remembered me, took my hand
But again confused, the choice she didn’t understand.
Led by the nurse to an exercise chair
I was left standing, only to stare
I then left, all oblivious to her
My leaving created not even a stir.
She tore the blinds from her window last night
They are not putting them back up
Not there today, obviously out of sight
None of that does she remember today
She cursed the staff, so they say
I know it’s true though hard to believe
Just not my Dot — she needs to be relieved.
I just don’t know what else to do
Lots of suggestions, but I haven’t a clue
I try to remember how she used to be
But it’s a real stranger that now I see. TRM
SAD & LONELY #1 By Ted Morgan
I’ve lost the love of my life
Gone is my lovely, beautiful wife
No, she didn’t leave, she didn’t die
I can’t comprehend it, only ask why?
Most shared experiences, she doesn’t remember
Like leaves falling from their limbs in September
She has this common elderly disease
Recent happy moments she tries to seize.
She doesn’t always know me
Thinks me her brother, her father, her son
She doesn’t know my sister, Kaye
Thinks son Ron and cousin Allen are one.
I tell her the truth, she thinks I’m lying
Believes her roommate is spying
Thinks she’s in the hospital, not the home
Late at night she tends to roam.
The doctors say she’ll not get better
There is nothing more that they can do
That it is no one’s fault
Nobody, that we could even sue.
She trusted me, but I let her down
By deceiving her into the home
In her best interest, I was so sure
But were my motives all that pure?
She complains, but is no longer stressed
Her fears seem to have gone away
She sees me, smiles, is a relaxed happy
I long for this again each day.
I so wish there was more I could do
To return to the way it used to be
That was her last request to me
Our love together is our plea.