This spring (2016) I took a poetry class to add to my set of tools. This is the second version of the first poem we had to do.
The photograph is of my grandparents, my cousin Cheri and me on the day of my baptism. My grandparents lived with us starting during my high school years. Grandma's health was deteriorating. My grandfather had dementia, though not of the Alzheimers variety.
It’s a Choice
My mother taught me
we have a choice.
And my grandparents,
one dying, one confused
came to live at our house.
400 long empty miles she wondered/wandered
what she would do if
Grandma died along the way,
no town, no people, no help
She knew she had a choice
to hug her to health or leave her to die.
that Grandpa kept the milk
in the oven
and everything else was held together with
and that we had a choice to laugh or cry
(I still struggle with rubber bands)
We woke to the smallest sound, Grandpa
out the door
two in the morning, no one around
racing down the street to bring him home
pajamas and bare feet on cold concrete
It is a choice to live or die inside
A generation later, the call that my father had died
and as my mother had taught me
I had a choice