Auld Lang Syne for World Alzheimer Awareness Day September 23

(gathered from bits of  friends’ conversation during my fifteen year daily visiting in memory loss units … let’s face it, sentimentality is not a crime there!)

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
To this I would not come, I thought — in all my younger times.

For auld lang syne, my dear, the long since passed and gone.
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for what we’ve lost and won.

So I forget the ones I love, — the dearest and the best!
This illness steals the heart away — the cursing with the blest.

For auld lang syne, my dear, the long since passed and gone
and what I ate for breakfast, too, at the rising of the sun.

We two have chased the wealth of life and picked the flowers of joy
We’ve wandered many a weary mile, since we were girl and boy.
We two have paddled rivers wide, we’ve raised up children grown,
but blurred by roar of wind and tide – they are to us unknown.

For auld lang syne, my dear, the long since passed and gone —
O some of us are angry now, and some are deep withdrawn.

Yet I’ve a hand I wish you’d hold, and, when you smile, I shine.
The angels store my memories for auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear — sweet present, precious past —
Let’s drink that cup of kindness, for the kindness is what lasts.

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14 Responses to Auld Lang Syne for World Alzheimer Awareness Day September 23

  1. Kathy Brett says:

    Thank you for your magical (which involves much work and skill) words. I would like to share on social media if that is okay.

  2. Nancy Donovan says:

    Beautiful Thanks I’m with 2 friends for a couple of days One is drifting rapidly away 🥲

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. For my grandmother, for my former mother-in-law, for so many others I’ve known who no longer knew me: thank you.

  4. Joyce Ray says:

    Maren, this beautiful poem resonates with me now as we navigate the dementia journey with a loved one. Thank you!

  5. Rosalie Sugrue says:

    This is beautiful, thank you. I will share it with the ‘Friends of Alzheimer’s’ group that has been enjoying a café lunch together on a monthly basis since 2010. This informal group provided a safe place to bring the person you were caring for if this was possible and company for caring for loved ones either at home or in care. Though all who had the disease are no longer with us (the last one dying last month) we continue to meet having formed such a strong bond over the years.

    • Maren says:

      What a wonderful group! This one (with your sense of fun) might be even better.

      A dream for my friends

      I saw Jesus softly folding the most beautiful clothes.
      Some were silk and velvet, all different sizes and shapes
      some had great long sleeves and lace,
      but some were jeans.

      I could see shapes like capes
      and shapes like bikinis,
      I’m sure there were wedding dresses,
      Halloween costumes, little league uniforms
      favorite pajamas.

      Jesus was putting them away so carefully –
      each one — in a drawer with sachets and rose petals.

      I never think of Jesus and laundry,
      but it didn’t seem blasphemous –

      so I asked what he was doing
      and he said these were the memories
      of all God’s children with dementia
      and he was folding them up
      to make sure not a one would be torn or lost.

      He said — the very first thing those children do
      when they come home
      is find their drawer.
      Oh, what a fun time that is!

      Sometimes they dress up
      in every memory at the same time —
      they are so happy to find them again.
      They dance around – swirling and swishing,
      recognizing everyone
      and burying their faces in
      the fresh-washed scent of their old joys.

      Then like some wonderful crazy Paris runway
      they walk out to the throne
      modeling the wardrobe of the heart.

      And the angels clap their hands.

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