Writing and poetry have continued to heal my family. Since I was a teen, writing has been a powerful healing force in my life.
As my family went through some tragic, tough times, writing was my outlet. I would get up really early in the mornings to feel that calm quiet of the morning before the crazy chaos and noise of a family of 8 arrived. At 4:00 a.m. in the morning, I would diligently write by our fish tank, just enough light to see what I was writing, but not too much so as to wake me from my dream state. I know that this hour when my most clear, heartfelt thoughts come. In this clarity, I have found my truth. My only wish is that I would have remembered it during the toughest times of my life!
Now, as I am writing my dad’s story, the vaulted man, with Alzheimer’s, is opening up through poetry. Dad has always always loved words and was a crossword wizard and the master of the dictionary. I remember when I was a little girl how we could pick a word, any word, from the dictionary and my dad would know it. We tried hard as we may to find the most difficult word we could to stump him. We never could. Impressive. I can’t wait to share how this great love of words got started! But alas, it will have to wait for another place and time.
Recently, I have decided to take formulaic poems and ask my dad to describe himself or his memories through these poetic forms. Because my dad loves words, it’s fun for him to look for the perfect adjective or verb to use in the poem. What’s even more fun is that each adjective comes with a thought or memory. And before I know it, this man who used to only talk of the weather is opening up and sharing beautiful stories of himself. Sometimes they are the same story, but really, it’s okay. And sometimes it’s only one or two adjectives a day, which is hard to be patient when you want to complete a poem. But again, we are communicating, and I’m enjoying the journey. My dad has purpose, and for a moment or several moments, my dad is holding on to something treasured and positive and he’s leaving his legacy in his own words.
Happy creativity to you! May you and your loved ones heal from writing too.