A Creative Contribution from…

Lisa Bader—a former massage teacher whose father passed away from dementia more than four years ago. She was inspired to write this poem after looking at emotionally-charged blogs and photos about her friend’s dad who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Dear Dad

As the sunlight gleams on your beautiful silver hair, I see you, dear dad,sitting in your chair.
Dear dad, what do you see?
What do you see when you look out the window?
Can you see the trees that grew from the seeds you planted so long ago?
Can you see the marks from the grass you once mowed?

I take your hand and guide you to the path we always walked.
Hand-in-hand, I continue to talk.
I feel your hand, still so big and rough.
It was not always easy, many days you had it tough.
Hard-working manly hands, swinging an ax, chopping wood.
But also gentle hands, holding me tenderly and whispering in my ear as you danced with me on my wedding day as only my daddy could.

We stop to rest as I turn and look into your eyes. The color has faded from those eyes, but yes, those are the same eyes that would so wisely advise.
What do you see in my eyes, dear dad?
Do you see your daughter?
Do you remember wiping tears from my eyes with your big hands?
Do you remember taking me on the ferris wheel and promising we could see the Blue Ridge Mountains from the top?

We sit on the grass and I take off our shoes as I put my feet next to yours.
I laugh as I blame you for giving me the same bad feet. I look at yours and they haven't changed since I could remember.
Why is it that hands age but feet are timeless?
They are the same feet that ran as you held on to my bicycle until I could pedal.
Your girl did it! For nothing less you would settle.

As we sit and rest on the farm that is home, we watch the butterflies dance around our fragrant, beautiful butterfly bushes.
Do you remember, dear dad, do you remember why we love these bushes?

Is it a curse, is it a blessing?
A return to innocence, so very pure, as a newborn entering into the world.

I love you, dear dad.