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talking to myself

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personal stuff

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A walk by the sea

The bright sun on the white sand and rocks

Reflected a strong glare causing the eyes to water,

The blue sky empty of clouds opened up to infinity,

The cool breeze with the sweet smell of the salty water

Allowing calm to descend were just a moment ago was missing.

The sound of the waves pounding the beach,

So soothing its crashing upon the sand

Its rhythm allowing the mind to rest in peace deeper than sleep,

A refreshing break from simply existing apart,

Drawing into the oneness of nature and it endless cycle

Of repetition without boredom

The soft sound of birds calling,

Sea gulls with their dance above the waves,

White wings spread expansively

Gliding without effort over the waters,

Seeking the silver gleam below the surface

That gives strength for the dance to continue.

The levy with its large rocks,

Causing the waves to seek to dissolve,

Spaying those lucky enough to be there

With the cool mist from the sea,

Refreshing to the skin

Lessening the sting from the hot white sun.

A place were speech is unnecessary

All that is needed is a listening heart

With eyes that see,

Filled with wonder at the beauty of it all.


The price paid

Loss is a silent companion,

Its cold embrace,

Empty of all that was before

Fits like a black vest,

Tightly zipped,

Forced up to the throat

Blocking breath,

Clinging in its need to feed.

With no where to go or hide

Since it is in the heart,

The center of life

That the void is felt.

Unrelenting in its lovemaking,

That leads only further down the road of loneliness,

Where all fears are felt to be true,

In a place that is shorn of all color or vibrancy.

To dare love is to invite this intimate other into ones life.

A price is to be paid for love,

Be it for a mate,



A bill well worth the price.

Since without love all of life would be a cold artic wasteland,

Inhabited by those dead but who do not yet know it.

The wound heals

Slowly over time,

Without it how can wholeness occur?

There is only stagnation for those who allow fear to rule them.

Fear of pain,

Exacts a higher price than love does,

It is just felt in smaller doses

Over an empty and bleak life

That seems to go on forever no matter how short it really is.

It is better to seek and not find,

Than not to have sought at all.

The seeking without despair no matter what the pain,

Enlivens the soul as it makes it journey towards its destiny,

Where what we seek waits.



The frog sat without movement

Blinking in the mist laden air,

Surrounded by fog and padded silence;

Its color a bright green

With eyes large and dark

Lending a serene beauty

As it patiently waited for whatever it needed

Food or a mate I did not know

As it sat unmindful of its perfection,

Or the effect it had on me.



Had lunch with Leo this Wednesday, and decided to try a new place for lunch. Probably did it more for me than for him, since I am not sure he remembers our trips, at least in a detailed manner. He always responds positively to the new images that he gets from his surroundings, and also likes the music that is played over the speaker system. That day they were playing R & B tunes which he seems to enjoy very much. As usual I had to show him how to use his straw for the tea, but he caught on fast and did alright. As usual I ordered food that he could eat with his hands, and put the silver ware aside except for a fork. Too many utensils confuse him, at least they do when I take him to a new place. After we ordered our food he tried to talk to me. One thing that came thru very strongly was his frustration about not being able to say what he wants to. His stuttering over words, or saying words that he does not mean, is a great source of pain for him.

I know for some people it is best to be forthright with them; it works for William for instance, but I have never tried it with Leo. So I decided to try that approach and see what happens. If my telling him the “whys” caused him more confusion or pain I would drop it and he would soon forget it, so no harm in trying. So I began to tell him about his Alzheimer’s and how it is the cause of his not being able to say what he wants to, also why he can’t name things like he used to do. I also told him that his disease will not go away, but he will always be taken care of, and we will always be able to go out to lunch together.

After I made my little speech, he responded by showing me how happy he was over the explanation, and how it made him feel better. It came out jumbled but I understood. So I then began talking to him about his life, trying to discern if he remembered anything from his past. I brought up his artistic ability, which I think was immense; he did metal sculpture. He let me know that he did not remember, so I told him how much I loved his work, how his sculptures seemed to flow with it smooth edges and caused the eyes to move upward, at least it did for me. Described to him one of his large candelabra’s that was about six feet tall, that had the candles fastened to one piece of mental that gently wound around a center pole, and ended open at the top. It was one of my favorite pieces. I also told him about some of the wall sculptures that he made, also about a show he had in Philadelphia when he was a young man. He became very excited about this knowledge and loved hearing about the part of his life that he had forgotten.

He is so much like a child now, living just in the moment, but happy none the less, and like a child he is open to the truth of the situation, even though he may know that ‘this’ moment will soon be forgotten. I suppose I will have this talk with him every week since it will seem like the first time, but I am glad to know that he enjoys knowing about his now forgotten life. It does not matter that he will forget, what is important is that for a few minutes he was happy before the memory sinks into the ocean of forgetfulness.

One thing that has remained stable with Leo, he was always a very gentle soul, and that remains.


The end of a conversation

Failure stared him in the face

Mocking all that he has ever tried to do,

Seeking to lead him down the path of regret,

That eventually can mature into despair

Leading into the world that is colored ever so softly

In shades of grey.

Easy on the eye but lifeless and silent,

The wrong kind that leads into nihilism,

A world in which nothing matters

Nothing last or is important.

The man was used to the world of soft shadows

Knowing well the dust filled land

A drought that chokes out all life,

The water of life elsewhere, far distant, that could wash the dust away.

A place that he knows exist from his younger days when hope flourished,

Ideals high and the good sought in a land of bright colors filled with life

That is until his weakness and inner conflict became something more real than life itself

The wheel has turned many times always returning to this conversation

The man knows this place well

This time he smiled

At the insults slung

Finally coming to the point of seeing what failure really is.

A simple chance of listening to the right voice

And the faith and courage to continue and simply move on.

He reached out to whom he knew not

The light came quietly

Softly whispering hope

The future bright if only his heart turned

From mediating upon his failure,

Toward the light

That sees all.

The divine presence that is love

That brings good out of all things.


Joy is there

Joy is there

The light ever present enveloping

Upholding the one loved.

Often hidden but at work none the less even if in secret.

Slowly bringing to light the fruit long in coming

Overcoming the darkness of fear



That often haunts those who seek the good

The conflict often wounding

Forcing the broken to choose to move forward

To trust

That Joy will win out in the end

No matter how bleak it seems.

Life is not dark

Though at times it seems so

Suffering and evil seemingly strong

Covering the world in its viselike grip,

Will one day end.

The light is slow in its work,


Allowing life to takes it course

Until one by one we are called home

Into the light

Where the mystery answered in part continues to unfold,

To dive deeper into this love is our eternal joy,

Our calling

To always plunge deeper into the center we have never left.


Each day

Each day so much like one before it

Just little differences

That make some stand out,


Even pondered,

While the rest sink into forgetfulness,


Never again to see the light.

Memories hide,


Buried in the cave beneath thought,

With roots deep,


Influencing in secret

That makes us a mystery to ourselves

In how we sometimes are.

Am I my past or am I my thoughts at this moment?

What will I be in the future?

Perhaps I am none of these.

Something simpler,

Deeper than thought,

Or past and future,

Greater than the present

Deeper than time?

Am I truly who I am only in the present?

This moment,

This thought or experience?

Is the present all I have to stand on?

God’s present is all time

Mine this instant the doorway

Where I truly connect

With the All.


With its depth

The pain of the world,

Its sorrow,

Weighs heavily in all our hearts,

Some more in touch than others

With its depth.

Many hide from its sting

Becoming tough,




Anything to keep empathy,


At bay,

That if allowed to grow

Will make the heart bleed,


Moan for all their brothers and sisters,

Suffering with no one to help,

Or to be with.

Does God weep?

Being present to all,

No way to deflect

The agony

Of all the children created.

Since love embraces pain.

The price paid high beyond all measure.

To walk with,

Be one,

With those who struggle

Thru life’s long road,

Leading eventually to healing,

That only God’s love,


Seemingly unkind,

Can accomplish.

It is love that gives life,

Any other road taken

Deadens the heart,

Reducing others to objects

To be used,

Then discarded,


Easily replaced,

The only price asked

Is the death of the soul,



In its loneliness.

Free from the burden of caring

Or feeling for others

Who are icons of Christ in the world.


Trust the process

There is a proverb that always seems to speak to me…..”Trust the process”…..a simple statement no doubt, but when meditated upon when going thru some change in life, can be very helpful, and even comforting.

Change can bring to the surface many conflicting emotions, and feelings; excitement, fear, and anxiety, with each flowing thru the conscious awareness one after another, sometimes perhaps being experienced all at once. Causing a swift experience of “ups” and “downs”, that can be unnerving, and exhausting, to say the least. Sort of like being on a roller coaster with no end in sight, to an already unpleasant ride. Yet there are times in everyone’s life when this has to happen, since so many changes need to be made, in order to move on with one’s life.

It can be starting a new job, getting married, moving, getting promoted, or simply taking on some new responsibilities that will take a lot of energy and time to learn. Like a person who is more intuitive, and global, in their thinking, taking on a job that is more detail orientated. Something that can seem daunting, but in reality can be learned with patience, all it takes is learning to slow down and take one aspect of the job as it comes up, the over all picture will come later.

The trick is, to really “trust the process”, that whatever needs to be gone thru is allowed to happen; with the desire to move forward and learn still intact , and the possibility of failure always there, but excepted as part of the equation. I think the possibility of failure adds a little spice to the whole experience. Not knowing the outcome is what brings up the emotional roller coaster ride in the first place, it is an ego thing.

Life is about expansion, either in our relationship with the world outside of ourselves, or with our own inner world. Both are entwined, so there are times in our lives when we need to be able to move outward and learn, at other times to go inward and grow in that direction. Not to do so is to start a life that…. “Does not trust the process”…. and that can cause a lot of restriction and blockage in how life is dealt with.

Trying and failing, is far superior to not trying at all because of some supposed fear of failing. Failure is just as much a part of life as succeeding, both are important in allowing us to get over the fragile ego syndrome.

Fear is there to warn us of some threat, which is good, it keeps us safe. There are times however when feeling ‘safe’ is just an excuse not to step out and take a chance. I suppose the only way I can deal with fear is to face it, probably a temperamental thing, I can’t do otherwise, the regret is too great if I don’t.


The two step

Learning a new job is like learning a new dance step. I remember when my sister-in-law tried to show me how to do the 2-step. Looks easy, and it is, but learning to do it without counting takes some time; meanwhile the actual counting also makes it hard to do, since it interferes with the actual rhythm that is needed to do anything right, be it dancing or not; to do it properly

Right now I am so busy trying to get all the “details” right that it takes me twice the time that it took Theresa to do any one task, but hopefully my rhythm will kick in the next few weeks, and my self consciousness will lessen a tad.

I am glad for the new responsibilities, since it is making me to deal with some of my under developed aspects in how I relate to what is simply around me. I am not good with detail, sort of drive me crazy, but now I have to slow down enough to simply “do it”. So in the long run it is going to be very good for me.

I have a good crew working with me, who know me, and let me know when I am about to flub up, which in the last few days has been a lot. However over all I have dealt with the literally “thousand and one thing to do”, ok.

I am very good at delegating, but that comes with pitfalls and weaknesses, something that I will have to try to correct. It seems that our gifts also come with an underneath that needs to be dealt with, and it seems that I will not deal with that underneath unless I am put into a actual situation where I have to.


Like an infant

He is like an infant now

In his geriatric chair

Table up so he cannot fall,

If he tries to stand up on his own.

He does not know he cannot walk

He stills smiles when his name is called

Laughs at jokes

Loves music

Is present to those around

How much no one knows

He leans to his right

Almost over the arm rest

Nothing can be done to make him straight

When ask if he has pain

He responds he is comfortable

Eats only soft foods

Stating to have trouble taking meds

He swallows on good days

With hot oatmeal which he loves,

Soon he will not be able to do even that.

I caress his face

We talk in our own way

His eyes still shine with humor

And responds

When I say I love him and kiss him on his forehead.

He fights when we clean him

Does not know what we are doing

Takes two to do this tango

But it gets done

All happy when it is over.

He just sits

Quiet unless addressed

Sometimes restless

Most of the time not

Unless he is in bed

He will be missed

His presence here long

Seven years

Swiftly pasted

With a shorter future every day

We each for a short time

Shine our light on those around us

Some lights are brighter than others

Some more loving

He is one of those


Early years (2 years Old) put in foster home

Became hyper self aware (still am)

No one to depend on

Just myself

Hyper alert in a dark lonely place

This is abandonment

Something every child has to face at one time or another

Mine came sooner rather than later.

Had to be done

Rent problems

Parents came every weekend

I withheld my affection knowing they were leaving again.

Became self contained

Impersonal towards others

Unable to break this

As the years stacked up.

Even knowing my parents did not mean to abandon

Still as a 2 year old that was what it was

A lot of rage from that time

Not rational,


That inner fire

Can erupt at any time.

This is my path

Simply dealing with this issue

Not letting it consume me nor my life.

I am not a victim

That would be too easy

Leading downward.

In thinking of nature

I am fire

As a force

A volcano

Slumbering for the most part

With magna deep down


Wanting to express itself

Find relief

From the inner pressure.

My path not allowing this to control my life

Not making others victims of my anger

Seeking to not scapegoat anyone

Or if I do

To apologies

Own up to it

Then move on.

Saw a psychologist at 40

He asked me

Mark what can I do for you?

Doc I replied I am dying

I can feel it

My anger

My constant companion is destroying my body

I have trouble breathing

(Still do all these years later).

Am always angry

Though so far I have been able not to take it out on anyone.

I suppress it

Try to deal with it in a way that is not destructive to other

But perhaps I need help

It seems to be hurting me

I feel it now that I am older.

I am wearing out.

Loseing the battle

No matter how hard I try.

It was a struggle

I disassociated at lot

Frustrating for both me and the Psychologist

In the end he did help me to voice things that I already knew

Just needed to word it in front of somebody

Who could reflect it back for me.

This helped

Thought my anger is a constant companion.

At times I feel like

St Francis and Ghangis Kan

Are sitting across from each other

Unable to communicate.

At times it shows itself as raw power

Erupting from my deepest most hidden part of who I am

Or think I am.

It is painful

Tears my soul

Worse than physical pain

At times I wonder if I will ever be free of it.

Perhaps being fire means just that

Dealing with this inner power in a way that is life serving.

It is simply my path

That I must see to the end.

Each person walks this road

If not with rage and anger

Then it is something else.

An inner wound

Perhaps hidden

Seeking to be noticed

Dealt with


To not deal with it

Face it

No matter what the road walked

Is to invite chaos into life

A slow death over many years.

To run from the problem

Is to only make it worse.

Letting go


Is the only way to break free

To allow the heart

To be a channel of God’s healing love

Not only for myself

But also for others.

Resentment and hatred

Are intimate,

Just as profound as love,

In the attachment

It has for the one hated or resented.

Not to forgive is to carry a heavy burden

To give power

Mostly unasked for

To the ones

Focused upon


Choosing my battles

Choosing my battles

In taking care of the sick, there are two things that I have learned. The first is to choose my battles, to know what can be dealt with for the benefit of my patient, and what needs to be let go off, since to pursue it would only cause more harm than good. I suppose diet is one of the hardest things to deal with. For many of us our eating habits can be a bit compulsive and our choices bad for us. I have a man I am taking care of at this time, who is rapidly gaining weight, has diabetes, which is worrisome, and his kidney’s are starting to go, and he may soon have to start taking dialysis. It is obvious his eating is compulsive and we have talked several times about the danger he is putting himself into. He listens and then ignores us. After a meeting we decided to continue to encourage him, but not to push it, since it something we can’t constantly monitor, and in the long run leads nowhere.

He also has some emotional problems, with serious issues in dealing with his anger. In the past he went to therapy about this specific problem, and since this is an issue that has to be dealt with, I was told that I needed to deal with it, and talk to him. One of the reasons for this is that this particular man trusts me, and he will listen to what I have to say, and hopefully understand how serious his situation with his anger is becoming.

We talked on Monday, it went well after I explained the reason why we wanted to call in a therapist for him to talk to, and we would start off doing it once a month and then go from there if more time was needed. When the therapist came, I was at the first meeting. I explained to him that his outburst of anger, that sometimes lead to violent behavior, needed to be addressed, and here I have a few examples. The first one I brought up was his tendency to push patients in wheelchairs away from him violently, if they got in his way, his verbal outburst that many find intimidating; even some of the nurses working here can’t handle this. He does a good job in presenting a very intimating façade, that many can’t see as that and are therefore afraid of him when he is in that condition.

Since this seemed to be accelerating, it was time to do something about it before something extreme needed to be done. Changing his meds only helped a little, what we felt he needed was for someone to come in so that he could not only vent his frustrations, but to also hopefully get some insight into what he is doing (like I said he did well in the past), so that it could be deflated, if that is the right term. He was also notified that this was a form of family therapy, since while in the home he was part of an extended family, so from time to time I could be called in to be part of the process.

So in this instance more assertion was needed because his behavior was having a detrimental effect on the home, and also the possible harm it would do him if he was asked to leave, or worse if he had to be placed in a home that dealt with this kind of problem. We also did not want to use medications that would lower his quality of life either, so we felt that this may be the best course of action. He did listen, and wants to work with us on this issue, much to my relief.

At times a certain kind of bluntness, done with compassion is needed. Francis for instance just got over a serious illness and would not eat. I encouraged him, but he would not listen to me. So I asked him if he wanted to die, he thought for a moment and then said “no, I want to live”. So I continued that if he did not eat, and perhaps force himself, he would surely die. He would get weaker, and become bed ridden, and with his heart condition it could lead to complications. He thought about it again, and now he is eating better, we are trying to serve him foods that he likes, good for him, and will hopefully keep him on his present plateau for a while longer.

When to become assertive and when to let it be, is not always simple, but people have rights, and if it does not interfere directly with their care we give them their freedom; our most precious possession, in other words, we strive to treat them as we would want to be treated if in their position.


I wonder

I often wonder what it will be like for me when I get old. As I take care of my patients I often picture myself in their position in the not so distant future, and wonder if I won’t be saying over and over again “so that was what it was like”.

Last night trying to clean Edmund, he got very angry at me, since he had no idea what I was doing. He did not want me to take off his wet clothes, or clean him. I spent about 30 minutes just talking softly to him, explaining what I was doing, which at first did no good whatsoever. It is difficult to sometimes do what must be done when the one being helped does not understand. He finally calmed down, and even helped me; I guess his short term memory can sometimes be helpful, since I am sure the memory would be a painful one for him if he retained it.

Old age is a challenge for all involved, the relationship complex and trying, but at the same time enriching for the care giver and at times for the one receiving the care. One learns to let go, if that is possible, the other, the caregiver, learns patience, and hopefully the ability to try to listen on a deeper level, that is often needed for those who have not yet reached that stage in life, where everything has to be done for them.

Edmund at this time can only eat soft foods, he is starting to have trouble swallowing so he needs to be hand fed. We give him oatmeal, eggs, mashed potatoes; well anything soft and easily chewable, will little chance of choking, and he does not seem to mind the change in diet. As usual his appetite is still good.

I will continue to wonder what it will be like when I am there needing help. Sometimes I am peaceful about it, at others times fear rears its head to sneer at me. Such is our journey, being a pilgrim is not easy, but that seems to be what we are.


Talk on anger

I have been asked to give a talk on Anger, Resentment, and Forgiveness; a subject I feel I know a lot about, since anger is an issue that I have been dealing with all my life. I am not an intellectual, so my talks tend to be more autobiographical than anything else, and sometimes it gives me pause when I think about it.

One of the reasons I like blogging is that I have an avenue that I can simply state what I feel I need to state, and then send it to be read by people who really don’t know me, and don’t see me. When giving a talk it is an intimate sort of thing for me since I am face to face with a room full of people, who if they don’t know much about me before the talk, certainly will by the time it is over.

I don’t know why I can’t just get up there and talk in the abstract but I can’t. One reason is that for some reason the differences between abstract and the practical tend to blur for me. When studying for instance something abstract, I tend to think of it on a practical level and how I can use it in my own life. So in my talk’s people get both, which I am not sure is always what people want when attending a talk. I keep getting asked to come back, so enough must like it to want more from me.

When I was younger I would never admit to having anything wrong with me, I had to be perfect, in control, fit body, lots of muscle, last word in every conversation etc. I must have been a real bore to people. As I got older I began to see how foolish that was and began to let others know that I have problems, lots of them, and I found it a relief to be able to state that. I know I told others nothing new, but for me to say it was like letting go of a heavy weight that I was carrying around.

So yes I get angry easily, seemed to have a lot of it; its roots go way back into my past, and have visited that past to get some understanding of this particular issue. At times it seems that I have this excess energy that wants to be released, and is on the look out for something for me to blast. What probably saved me from a lot more pain, and frustration, in my life is that I chose the road of suppression, rather than repression, or simply expressing it to whomever was in front of me. The shot gun approach to anger never seems to work; at least I have never seen it work for some of my friends. It seems to just make communication harder, and the isolation deeper; something I want to avoid.

Others are not responsible for this excess anger that I carry around, and as I get older it seems to lessen, but I feel it is a burden I will always carry with me. Most of my friends don’t know this about me. I guess it is because I am conscious of it, and there is no unconscious leaking. What leaks is my more tender side, I am not in touch with it on an emotional level, but others seem to pick that up from me.

Oh well better get my talk ready.


Tightly wrought

Deep down in the depths

In places perceived as dark,

Hidden from view,

Maybe forgotten

Or perhaps feared,

Is a knot,

Gideon like,

Tightly wrought,



Of the one who is its creator,

Even if brought forth unknown

In ignorance.

Purposeful none the less

Even if its time is outlived,

It cannot be undone.

The burden heavy,

If not felt,

Its influence seen

The effects witnessed

By those who know the one suffering,

Who perhaps see their reflection

In the dark mirror presented before them.

Deeper yet


Is love deeper than the ocean,

Stronger than death,

With infinite patience

Waits in silence

For the time of the great unraveling,

The awakening,

The knot at rest

Undone at last,

The constriction over

Breath comes




There is a yearning in the human heart

Often going without a name,

Experienced as a wound by some,

By others a simple longing.

An inner thirst,


Showing no mercy to the Soul,

Allowing no permanent rest

Since it cannot be owned

But only sought.

This yearning points beyond what we have,

It almost seems that we are also pursued.

That being also yearned for

Is what draws us forward.

Seeking union with that which has no name,

Nor form,

Yet present in the inner emptiness

Speaking of home

A place we know is there

Even though never seen.



He is not the person he was once,

Cannot say what he wants,

Yet still knows he has something to say.

He stutters

The frustration showing in his eyes

Aching to say something,

Anything that forms a complete thought,

But he cannot.

He is present,


Just in a different way,

That makes him seem absent

To those who perceive from outside.

He knows,

He feels,

In ways different than before,

Yet the fire,


And love still shine forth.

He reaches to tap me on the shoulder,

Smiling gently,

Unable to say what he is feeling;

It is enough.

He sees that I understand.

Being with him,

Watching him struggle

Is like learning a new language,

A new way of seeing,

Perhaps that is why he is a teacher

Unknown to himself,

An icon of Christ in the world.


Out to lunch

About a year and a half ago, when Leo, and Damian, first went into Morningside, I would take them out to lunch once a week. They both enjoyed it; the time spent with them was very pleasant and happy. They liked to go and get hamburgers, or perhaps a hotdog, and afterwards go over to Dairy Queen for some ice cream. They loved the ice cream Sundays with lots of syrup on it. This went one for a few weeks, but I had to stop since the director of Morningside told me that Damian would come back agitated, and would want to go out again. Since they both spent a lot of time together; their rooms were next to each other, the trips had to stop; couldn’t just go in and take Leo, and leave Damian behind. So when the time came for a visit, I just stayed there, and talked and joked with them. Damian loved to joke, and Leo is a very good listener, so they made a good pair.

Now that Damian is gone, it seemed a good idea to start taking Leo out once a week again. He became excited when we stepped out onto the parking lot and started to laugh, saying it has been a long time since he was outside. We went to the Bugaboo steak house near the Mall, went early before it got crowded. Got him some chicken strips, French fries and some ice tea. He can easily eat those items, sometimes he has trouble knowing how to eat certain foods, but he did fine with his meal. Afterward he had two scoops of ice cream. He loved it; liked the music, the waitress made a fuss over him, called him honey, which made him laugh; he laughs easily.

I wanted to take him for a walk. The horse park was one place I thought he would like to go, but when we discussed it after a fashion, he stated that he wanted to walk thru the mall. So off we went. He does not remember anything about the area, so each trip is a new adventure for him. Took him to a pet store, he became enamored with an African Grey parrot, and spent some time making soothing noises at it. Loved the water fountains and kept remarking how big the mall is. After a while he began showing signs of fatigue, so I took him back to Morningside, and was happy to see that he was glad to get back. I took him back to his room, hugged him, and he laid down for a nap.

I am very happy that he likes it there, the staff is made up of some terrific people, and they spend a lot of time with him. Leo likes to be read to, and also prayed with, which some on the staff have told me they like to do with him. One of the ministers from hospice that goes there has learned to say the Hail Mary with him, which being Catholic is firmly embedded in his long term memory, and even if he at times cannot say it with her, knows it in his head and can follow along.

Odd about Leo, look at him one way and he seems not to be there, but listen and look into his eyes, and he is there looking out trying to communicate. Yes he is like a child, but the man is also there, his complexity has not gone or diminished, it is just expressed in different ways.




The sun beats down

Upon the one who thirsts,

Throat parched,

Tongue swollen,

Screaming for cool water,

The mind obsessed,

Growing deeper

Each moment tormented.

The stream was heard from afar

The beauty of the sound


More thrilling

Than any sound ever heard,

The body frantic

Its desire

All consuming

With a joyful noise,

The crystal clear treasure

Flowed past rapidly,

Its smell intoxicating,

Almost leading to madness,

Until the hands cupped

The precious liquid,


The pleasure


More fulfilling

Than ever thought possible

As life

Once again became strong

With the water of life

Once thought of as common.