“Limbo” by Sandy Patton


Written by Sandy Patton and shared with permission


Standing in her doorway, I feel the familiar angst.

I clear my throat, swallowing hard against the flood

of tears that, on most days, threatens to escape my

eyes, now awash in sadness, exhaustion,



I’ve tried hard to brighten Mom’s small room with

meaningful memories, covering her dresser top

with special photographs, beautifully framed.

Faces, once so loved and dear, now mere strangers

wearing frozen smiles, untouched by time.


Personal musings, penned in a precise, bold

handwriting so uniquely hers, colorful binders,

brimming with stories and poems of a

well-lived life, line the shelves

of an antique mahogany bookcase.


Spirited words showcase her talent, honesty,

humor, allow her joy of life to spill forth, revealing

glimpses into a heart and exceptional soul of a

wonderfully warm, funny, compassionate lady —

my best friend, my confidant, my beloved Mom.


It’s dusk now, the room partially bathed in shadows.

Mom sits silent in her rocking chair, facing the window,

yet oblivious to the colors of sunset; the quiet broken

only by a rhythmic back and forth motion of her chair.

Small, blue-veined hands clutch cherished rosary beads.


Her silent times are hard, but the dreadful, dark days

numb me with grief. Mom cries out, yells in anger,

chokes on frustration of not being understood, looks

at me as one would a stranger, demanding to know,

“Who are you? You’re not my nurse. Get out of my room.”


I struggle with the guilt of not being able to fix this.

I berate myself because, God help me,

moments of blind rage overtake me and I pray for an

end to her misery, and selfishly, to mine. A small

part of me dies along with her every day.


Most days I doubt this deep ache will ever ease.

I watch my dear Mom, a sad ghost of

herself, appearing neither content nor troubled,

bright light gone from once-sparkling eyes,

now replaced by a haunting, vacant stare,

as she sits and rocks.


And I ask myself,

will my heart ever be whole again?




4 thoughts on ““Limbo” by Sandy Patton

  1. Lauren, your words touch me every time. It was the very same with my mom. The light gone from her eyes, that blank stare. Her not knowing you any longer. The sting of that still brings a sick feeling to my stomach. The loneliness, the confusion all the things I will never know exactly what my mom went thru or felt. But it hurts my heart to know how terrible all it must have been for her and for anyone that suffers with Alzheimers.
    My mom was 74, she passed Jan 27th of this yr. I prayed for her to pass, I longed for her to be at peace. It’s what I knew she would want and it’s what I wanted her to have. But the heartache is immense. I miss her! Even though she was no longer her self while she was here on earth. She was still here and I got to see her and talk to her, even though she never really understood me or was able to carry on any type of conversation, she was still here. I know she is healed and rejoicing in heaven. But in how my heart misses her.
    I hope to one day see a cure for Alzheimer. It stole my mother!
    Sending you my love, and praying for strength for you and your family.

  2. Sharon, this is a beautiful example of the lives of the patient and the loved one/ones that share this horrific disease.
    Thank you.

  3. Your words are so powerful. Thank you so much for sharing. It put my life into perspective.

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