Life & Living, Love, Poetry

so what if santa has dementia? he’s still the same ole claus he used to be

Unbeknownst to most of the world, Santa was diagnosed some time ago with Alzheimer’s disease. Luckily, he has a great support system at the North Pole, and Mrs. Claus knows exactly what to do to keep him engaged with life, as well as to ensure that he’s healthy and happy. We could all benefit by following Mrs. Claus’s good example.

Whatever we believe is real.

santa claus lives with dementia

by punkie 2017

Listen here:

Read here:

“alzheimer’s it is”
the doc says to the clauses
“no cure in sight,
and no clue to the causes

“write your will, take a pill,
give in to your fate
there’s nothing to do
with this disease we all hate”

but the clauses aren’t ready
to throw in the towel
they decide to live on
even if cheek by jowl

the mrs. she knows
it brings santa great joy
to distribute fun gifts
to the world’s girls and boys

she assembles the team
the deer and the elves
“we need to help Santa,
he’s not feeling himself”

“he worries dementia
may cause him to lose
the man he is now —
not to mention his shoes!”

“i want to give meaning
to the life he’s now leading
you’re his friends, ’til the end
for your help i am pleading.”

mrs. clause is no fool
she knows he will change
so she learns how to care
and avoid feeling deranged

she takes deep yoga breaths
in and out, one, two, three,
she gets him to bounce
little kids on his knee

she agrees with her husband
even when he is wrong
defuses tough times
by singing him songs

she never will argue
no, that would be stupid
instead she heaps on
stuff delivered by cupid

to go with his flow
is always her goal
‘cause deep down inside
he’s still the same soul

if he gets angry,
which sometimes he does
i’m sorry,” she says
“i must be the cause.”

these simple ways
are true magic tricks
make it easy as peasy
to engage with st. nick

and the coolest thing is
that by giving more hugs
santa’s wife keeps her husband
off all those bad drugs

it allows him to function
to not go berserk
which in turn makes his wife
want to stand up and twerk

mrs claus is so grateful
she allows me to quote
the model that keeps
the clauses afloat:

these bangs are the best
way forward to glean
skills to stop me and he
from causing a scene!”

the elves and the deer
are in on the game,
their part is designed
to stop stigma and shame

though he often forgets
and becomes more confused
life’s ups and downs
keep santa amused

he works in the shop
tiny elves by his side
it helps him feel useful
and nurtures his pride

they buoy up his spirit
give esteem a big boost
stop fear and depression
finding somewhere to roost

and then on the eve
of the christian big day
rudolph the red
is in charge of the sleigh

they fly through the sky
every year without fail
dementia or not
with the wind at their tail

if the clauses can to it
ho ho so can you
make the best of the worst
by changing your view

seek blessings not curses
in life’s wildest ride
hold a hand, still your heart
let love be your guide

be like santa: believe
you have what it takes
to make every day christmas
when despair you forsake


©2017 Susan Macaulay. I invite you to share my poetry widely, but please do not reblog or copy and paste my poems into other social media without my permission. Thank you.

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Hope, Joy, Life & Living, Love

chocolate truffles and jingle bells: Christmas 2015

December 25, 2015: I hadn’t expected any gifts from Mom on Christmas 2015, but she surprised me, as had so many times before on our Alzheimer dementia journey.

“Would you like tea Mom?” I asked as we rolled into to the facility’s drawing room.

“No, I I I I I I I don’t like the tea,” Mom replied. Mom loved tea. We had tea every day at three. Or just about.

“Okay, how about a chocolate?” I offered.

“Nah nah nah nah nah…” she tried to decline. Mom also loved anything sweet. Always had. I chose a truffle from the box I’d purchased a few days before at the village chocaleterie, and held it inside the range of Mom’s tunnel vision. It took a few seconds for Mom to zero in on the delight, a few more for her to get her hand in its vicinity, and another few for her to grab it between her thumb and forefinger. Once she had it in her grasp, she held it there suspended, not sure what to do with it.

“Try it Mom, I think you’ll like it,” I suggested. No movement. “Take a bite Mom,” I encouraged. “Taste it.” I smiled as she finally responded to the cues, lifted the little piece of heaven to her mouth, and bit into it.

“How is it Mom?” No answer. Mom chewed, and then swallowed while crossing and uncrossing her legs. Crossing and uncrossing. Crossing and uncrossing. I willed myself not to allow the crossing and uncrossing, crossing and uncrossing, and the hand fluttering to affect me. It was like Mom was a marionette who danced while sitting and playing an invisible piano at the whim of an unseen puppeteer.

It’s not her fault. It’s not her fault. Thank you for the patience I have learned these past five years. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the patience.

I’m not religious, as Mom had been, but I am most definitely grateful. And it was Christmas Day after all. I reminded myself to breathe. Breathe in. Slowly. Breathe out. Slowly. Breathe in. Slowly. Breathe out.

“I don’t know wh wh wh wh wh wh wh wh….” Mom stopped in mid “what” and closed her mouth. I noticed again how the shape of her jaw had morphed into that of an infant with the top lip more pronounced and the chin receding.

“You don’t know what Mom?”

“I don’t know wh wh wh wh wh wh wh wh.” Silence. We sat face-to-face: I on the edge of an armchair, she in the annoying and dubious safety of the wheelchair’s bells and whistles. Our knees touched. So did our hearts and souls.

I waited as Mom processed; she was agitated. I saw it in the set of her mouth, the line of her cheek, the look in her eyes. She had something important she wanted to say, but dementia barriers were blocking the way. She clapped her hands in frustration at the ends of unfinished sentences, percussing words she was unable to speak. I wished I could decipher Mom’s Morse-like code in the moment as I had on many previous occasions. It would make things so much easier. But it wasn’t to be; I was left to divining.

“You don’t know what Mom?” I repeated my question.

“I don’t know. I don’t know what I don’t know,” she replied, hands fluttering like mad. When everything was going nowhere, music always helped.

“How about we sing a song Mom?”

“Well, I don’t know.”

“How about Jingle Bells?” I suggested despite the heartbreaking lack of snow outside. I began to sing out of key.

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride–”

“In a one-horse open sleigh!” Mom chimed in.

Her once beautiful singing voice was raspy and breathless as she completed the verse, but it sounded like a Christmas choir of angels to me. A little Yuletide miracle. If one were prone to believing in such.

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Annie & Cricket, Fiction, Hope, Joy, Life & Living, Love, Our stories

jingle bells and chocolate truffles

Cricket hadn’t expected any gifts that Christmas, but her mom surprised her.

“Would you like tea Mom?” She asked as the two of them rolled into to The Home’s drawing room.

“No, I I I I I I I don’t like the tea,” her mother replied. Continue reading “jingle bells and chocolate truffles”