Logo Jerry Ham

All his Poems

Email: Jerry.Ham@werner-saumweber.de

You do it for Love

You give of your heart, your love, and your life,
To a grandparent, parent, husband or wife.
You dress and you feed them, you clean up the mess.
For months, maybe years, you give of your best.
At times you can laugh, more often there's tears,
As you watch them decline year after year.
So often you feel like there's nobody there,
No one to talk to, there's no one who cares.
Then late at night, you'll sit and just cry,
"It all seems so hopeless, so why do I try?"
And then comes a voice, so soft and so clear,
You look all around you, but no one is near.
Again comes the voice, as soft as can be,
"You know why you try, just look and you'll see."
"You do it for love, you know that is true."
"This love that you have, will help see you through."
"You're not alone, there's someone who'll share."
"The burden you carry, I'll help you bear."
Then in the darkness, a warmth you can feel,
A soft gentle presence, you know it is real.
As you drop off to sleep, the angels above,
Echo the words...."You do it for love."

© 1997, Jerry Ham

This fragile Child

A fragile child is what I see,
In those sad eyes looking back at me.
"Is this right, Daddy?" I hear her ask.
My heart is breaking, though the pain I mask.
"Mama, Where's Daddy?" I hear her say.
"Is he coming back to see me today?"
She talks from morning to late at night.
But nothing she says really sounds just right.
She holds the spoon, "What is this for?"
She asks the same question regarding the fork.
To dress herself, or to tie her shoes,
Is something she can no longer do.
A fragile child is what I see,
In those sad eyes looking back at me.
But I've known this person a very long while.
You see my mother is this fragile child.

© 1997/1999 by Jerry Ham

Yes...I'll cry

Each day I'll watch as mother walks.
I'll hear her sigh. I'll hear her talk.
She'll speak of loved ones no longer here,
I'll watch helpless as she sheds a tear.
Alzheimer's is stealing my mother away,
And she'll grow worse each passing day.
She needs help with all her care,
From getting dressed to brushing her hair.
We cut her food to help her eat.
This once tidy woman is no longer neat.
She often seems to live in the past.
Please dear God, how long will this last?
As her memory goes, I can only stand by,
Frustrated and helpless, and yes...I'll cry.
Those who love her, she no longer knows.
How long till her memory completely goes?
Each day I'll watch as mother walks.
I'll hear her sigh. I'll hear her talk.
I'll watch daily as she slowly dies.
I can't help her, and yes...I'll cry.

© 1997, Jerry Ham

Memories

Memories are more than a link to the past.
Sometimes they're all we have that will last.
They remind us of people and things we held dear.
They bring smiles and laughter, and yes, sometimes tears.
Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and friends,
Are things I'll remember again and again.
The first fish I caught, my first ride on a bike.
That first special gift, from that person I liked.
Our hopes and dreams as we began our new life,
And yes, our first Christmas, as husband and wife.
Remember the plans for the future we made?
We'd walk hand in hand through the years, unafraid.
The vacations we took, oh we had so much fun.
We played and we laughed, and relaxed in the sun.
The years were so good, the life that we had.
Our love was made stronger in good times and bad.

But now things have changed, and my heart's full of fear.
I hold on to your hand as I weep bitter tears.
Slowly at first, then all too fast it does seem,
Alzheimer's is taking our hopes and our dreams.

Now comes the time when I must say good-bye.
My heart is breaking, and I can't help but cry.
But your suffering is over and that brings relief.
For if anything at all, it helps ease my grief.
Though this terrible disease had taken your mind.
The memories we made will always be mine.
No matter what others may do or may say,
Nothing will ever take those memories away.

© 1997, Jerry Ham

The Days we were young

Momma, I remember, the days we were young.
I remember the laughs, the songs that were sung.
I remember you and Dad, together hand in hand.
Our parents were the best, in all of the land.
Yes, there were times, when we really did wrong,
And though we were punished, love was there all along.
I remember you gave us your love and your life,
As cooks, teachers, guides, as husband and wife.
Though life was not easy, and yes there were trials,
You taught us that God would be there all the while.
Those days of our childhood are long passed away,
But I still look back, and remember those days.
Momma, you're here, but you live in the past.
Now we're here for you, as long as it lasts.
The love that you gave us, will not be in vain,
It's not the principal, but the interest you've gained.
I guess, what I mean, when it's all said and done,
Momma, I remember, the days we were young.

© 1997, Jerry Ham

She's still my Mother

She's still my mother, who's standing there,
It's still her face, her eyes. It's her hair.
It's still her body, but it's just the shell,
Of the mother I once knew so well.
She's still my mother, who looks at me,
Then asks the question," who might you be?"
Her memory's fleeting and her gait is weak.
Loved ones long gone are those that she seeks.
She's still my mother, whose angry words,
Like a sharpened sword, my soul can hurt.
She's still my mother, who shares our home.
This one we dress and whose hair we comb.
She's still my mother...I know it's true.
And so dear God, I turn to you.
Please give me patience, wisdom and love,
Till the day you take her to Heaven above.
Let me return, if even through tears,
The love she gave me through all these years.
Though she may think that I'm her brother,
I'll love her yet...she's still my mother.

© 1997, Jerry Ham

My Dear...I love You

From one who has Alzheimer's, and yes it is hard,
Just for a moment, let me share from my heart.
Please forgive me for the mean things I'll say.
If I were well, I would not be this way.
Although I can't tell you, I'm so glad you are here.
But I know you are hurting, cause I see your tears.
I wish I could tell you what you mean to me.
Could we please go back to what used to be?
But no, we are here, and we're strangers it seems.
Although I wish otherwise, it's more than a dream.
Please, just remember, when I curse and yell,
It's not really me that you see, just my shell.
In spite of the difficult days we'll go through,
This one thing is true...my Dear...I love you.

© 1997, Jerry Ham

A Prison of the Mind

This prison does not have to have bars of steel,
But the barriers to freedom remain just as real.
There is no judge that can free her on bail,
And no able lawyer that can keep her from jail.
It started so simply, just a phrase here and there,
And also a memory, that vanished in thin air.
She was starting to repeat, things she'd already said,
Offering only faint clues as to what lay ahead.
She slowly grew worse, as the seasons passed by.
She knew something was wrong, but not what, or why.
Just to go out would become such a task,
For over and over, the same questions she'd ask.
Then came the times when in anger and fear,
She'd beg: "Please help me!" and weep bitter tears.
Now for some time she has lived here with us,
And every evening she'll make such a big fuss.
"I want to go home! Why can't I just leave?"
The answers we give her, she just can't receive.
Slowly, but surely, the disease shuts her in.
Now we can see the beginning of the end.
What is this illness, with no cure we can find?
Alzheimer's Disease, it's a prison of the mind.

© 1997, Jerry Ham

A Christmas Angel

Christmas Eve dawned bright and clear,
But the couple's eyes were filled with tears.
Her father was missing, they had heard that day,
He'd opened the door and just walked away.
No one knew where he might have gone.
The unanswered question, what went wrong?
A husband, a father, and father in law,
Who, in his youth, had stood so tall.
But now his memory was almost destroyed,
And so he became like a lost little boy.
Alzheimer's Disease was taking his life,
Three years ago, it had taken his wife.
Where would he go, and better yet why?
The questions were asked through tear-stained eyes.
Throughout the day the family prayed,
Yet the phone so silent stayed.
Through that long night, their sleep came hard,
The Christmas lights could not cheer the heart.
As dawn broke through the cloud filled sky,
The couple knelt by their bed and cried.
"Lord, we love that sweet old man,
Please send an angel to take his hand.
And bring him home Lord, safe and sound,
Please give us hope he will be found."
Then quietly out the window they stared,
And wondered how he was doing out there.
Then came a voice so soft and low,
A voice that called, "Hello? Hello?"
The door was opened and there he stood,
With a childlike smile from under his hood.
"Is this my home?" He finally asked.
The joy they felt could not be masked.
"An angel led me," He told them then.
"He said that here, I would find a friend."
With thankful hearts they brought him in,
And knew that Christmas could now begin.
The carols were sweeter, the lights were brighter,
And hearts full of joy were so much lighter.
An answer to prayer, they would always say,
God sent them an angel that Christmas day.

© 1997, Jerry Ham

Thank You Sir

"Thank you sir." I heard her say,
With each small bite I fed her today.
She smiled at me, and yet I knew,
Just who I was, would not get through.
The fog surrounds and holds her tight,
It's turned her daylight into night.
As I remember back through the years,
What I see now just might bring tears.
We hold her hands and help her walk,
But we're now strangers, to hear her talk.
I take the fork and say, "Open wide."
She looks at me and then asks, "Why?"
Then she laughs and makes a face,
And just for a moment I see a trace.
'Tis a trace of the mom I remember well,
Then it's gone and there's just the shell.
Now she lives in days long gone,
Locked up in a world that's all her own.
Sometimes I long to just talk with her,
But all I hear now is "Thank you sir."

© 1997, Jerry Ham

This Stranger in our House

There's a stranger in our house,
But she's one I used to know.
She loved me, fed me, clothed me,
And did her best to help me grow.
Her love was always there,
As I traveled though this life.
She beamed through tears of pride,
As she watched me take a wife.
Oh this one who's now a stranger,
At one time gave hugs and cheer.
And she was always ready,
To help dry a grandchild's tear.
But the years have long since passed,
And her memory's slipped away.
And now she talks unending,
To unseen people all the day.
This dear person is my mother,
I'll not whine, nor will I grouse.
For now it is my priveledge,
to love this stranger in our house.

© 1997, Jerry Ham

A Room full of Tears

I visited a room the other day,
In the back of my mind, well tucked away.
No one was there as I opened the door.
An empty room, but wait, there was more.
But just what it was, I could not tell,
And yet, I sensed that all was not well.
My spirit was troubled and it seemed to shout,
"Too long I've been captive, please, let me out!"
There in the darkness I struggled to see,
Trying to grasp what was troubling me.
I told myself that I'm tough and I'm strong,
But a voice spoke softly, "That's where you're wrong."
"You tell yourself, 'I can handle it all.
'No matter what happens, I must stand tall.'
"Let go of your pride and admit that you hurt.
"The pain that you feel, don't try to skirt.
"You're not alone with this illness you face.
"There are so many others who are in the same place.
"And rest assured, that they're frightened too,
"In so many ways, they're no different than you.
"Let go and reach out, take hold of their hands,
"No longer alone, but together you'll stand."
And then there was peace, and I wept as it came,
I knew that no longer would I be the same.
Then I saw a small sign, neglected for years.
The sign said this is a Room Full of Tears.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

The Miracle of Friends

Friends are a miracle, of that there's no doubt,
A necessity of life, we can not do without.
When things go wrong and life seems so bleak,
We're tempted to think we can't do it, we're weak.
Oh we will struggle, and we'll do what is right,
But then comes the time when there's just no more fight.
We blink back the tears and we say we're OK.
But inside we think, "I can't go one more day."
Then there's the touch of a hand kind and strong,
And a voice that says gently, "Let me help you along."
"Don't hold it in, let go, let it out."
This is what friendship is truly about.
A friend who will care and isn't ashamed,
To share in your tears, and call you by name.
The friend may not know what you're going through,
But says, "If you need me, I'll be there for you."
Friends who can comfort and help bear your load,
Are worth far more than their weight in pure gold.
Lord, open my eyes, and help me to see.
A part of The Miracle of Friends let me be.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

God's Newest Angel

Jesus stood smiling with arms opened wide.
And millions of angels were standing nearby.
A brand new arrival was heading their way.
And as they waited, you could hear them say.
"She fought hard and long, don't you agree?
"And now she's coming, her Savior to see."
"Lord, how long?" they were heard to ask.
"Until she is here, in God's presence to bask?"
"It won't be long" was His soft reply.
"Just a few more seconds, then home she'll fly."
The angels grew silent as they waited to hear.
But there was no sorrow, nor was there a tear.
Then came the shout, "She's on her way!"
God's newest angel they welcomed that day.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

Mom, who do You see?

When you look at me Mom, who do you see?
Oh how I wish you could still talk to me.
The look in your eyes speaks of anger and fear.
What memory's so terrible it brings you to tears?
You turn your face, and you whisper dark threats.
It's easy to see that you worry and fret.
When you look at me Mom, who do you see?
In your far away world, just who could I be?
If just for a moment, I could break through the veil,
I would say that I love you, and I always will.
Why did this happen? Life's not always fair.
But Mom, God willing, I will always be there
. I guess there's no answers to what's bothering me.
I can't help but wonder Mom, who do you see?

© 1998, Jerry Ham

This Unseen Enemy

She was bright, and smart, and so full of life.
She loved her role as mother and wife.
Two girls, three boys, five children she reared,
She taught them to laugh, to love and to care.
She showed them that love was not to be earned,
But given freely even when they got burned.
They told themselves that she'd always be there.
Their joys and triumphs and sorrows to share.
But then a stranger showed up one day,
Unbeknownst to them, it decided to stay.
It made no announcements to let them know,
That it would bring them sorrow and woe.
But just as sure as day becomes night,
This unseen enemy began its dread fight.
A bill or two she would forget to pay,
And coming back home she'd lose her way.
Then words said earlier, she would say again,
She could not remember the name of old friends.
This unseen enemy continued to rage.
And each new day was an unwelcome page.
And now she chatters the whole day long,
She has no idea that there's anything wrong.
This unseen enemy has done its work well,
It's destroyed her memory and left just a shell.
Friends, my prayer is that Lord, someday please,
We will find the cure to Alzheimer's Disease.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

A Mother's Dream

The coffee was steaming as he brought in the tray.
He said, Good morning, Happy Mother's Day.
With a soft loving smile, he set the tray down,
Then helping her sit up, he smoothed out her gown.
She gasped as she saw the single red rose.
And cried as she read the card with its prose.
Mother, I love you, and have all these years,
And I hope this day brings you nothing but cheers.
He held on to her hand as he pulled up a chair,
And gently he stroked her face and her hair.
As he leaned close to kiss her old wrinkled face
She awoke to find no one else in this place.
It was all just a dream, she knew in her heart,
For too many years, they'd been far apart.
No angry words, just a job here and there,
He was always so busy with no time to spare.
Oh, over the years, he had written her some,
But she still prayed that one day he'd come.
And now all alone, her eyes filled with tears,
She was so tired, and her heart full of fear.
She was now old and her time was'n t long,
She knew that soon, her life would be gone.
Then in the stillness, she heard a soft squeak,
And as the door opened, she saw eyes shyly peek.
The coffee was steaming as he brought in the tray.
And he said. Good morning, Happy Mother's Day.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

Momma Thank You

Momma, there's much that I'd like to say,
But you're in a world that's so far away.
When you look at me Momma, you no longer see,
The son you gave birth to, the man that is me.
How can I tell you what I feel in my heart?
When Alzheimer's has pulled us so far apart.
Momma, thank you for giving me life,
And standing beside me through all of the strife.
I know it was hard, there were days it was bad.
Trying to rear me without the help of a dad.
You taught me to stand, to walk and to run.
Times were tough, but I was your son.
Then you remarried, and no better man,
Could you have found, to meet life s demands.
Your love would last for forty-seven years,
You lived through trials, triumphs and tears.
Two handicapped children, it had to be rough.
But you showed us when necessary, you could be tough.
Momma, thank you, for the lessons you taught.
You showed me that character could not be bought.
Now, many years later, our roles are reversed,
The scenes we play now, we could not rehearse.
Oh there are times when I stumble and fall,
But I pray God, help me to answer the call.
But there is one thing that will always be true.
I love you so much. Momma Thank you.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

I Want To Go Home

She stands by the window, her eyes filled with fear.
I want to go home. She says through her tears.
But where do I live? She tries hard to recall.
Shivering slightly, she draws tight her shawl.
Why am I here? What wrong have I done?
Where is my husband, my daughters and sons?
Who are these people? They say I m their mom.
But I ve never seen them. Why did they come?
This is my mother, someone I know well.
I watch as she struggles in her own private hell.
There are no answers, at least none I can give,
But I try to tell her that with us she will live.
She turns my way as the day turns to night.
You re not my son, and this just isn t right.
Please let me go, I don t want to stay.
And if I can do it, I will get away.
When, late at night, she lays down her head,
I hear her mutter, I wish I were dead.
Then a soft prayer, a heart rending moan,
God, please help me, I want to go home.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

Mama

Mama, Mama, MAMA! Open your mouth.
To get her attention takes almost a shout.
Mama, Mama, MAMA! Here, take a drink.
With a glare on her face, she tries hard to think.
Who is this stranger who intrudes in her space,
Who calls her Mama, and gets in her face?
Mama, Mama, MAMA! Here take a bite.
The look in her face says, Go fly a kite.
At times it s a struggle to get her to eat,
By the time it is over, her spot's not so neat.
Mama, Mama, MAMA! Here, look this way.
I don t think I know you. Her eyes seem to say.
Mama, I love you. I say through my tears,
I m going to kill him. still rings in my ears.
All I can say is that I hope it's not me,
But, rather someone from her past that she sees.
Mama, Mama, MAMA! Here take your pills.
Sometimes it seems that it's a contest of wills.
Then comes the hour, when it's time for bed,
We get her all ready and she lays down her head.
We tell her we love her and have a good night.
She looks at her light, Oh that sun's really bright.
Alzheimer's Disease is the cause of this trauma.
Daddy killed me, so he can just go to MAMA!

© 1998, Jerry Ham

Freedom

I thought of the freedom for which many have died.
A freedom for which many millions still yearn,
To live and to laugh, and yes, even to learn.
The freedom to reach out to each other in love,
The freedom to give thanks to our Father above.
The freedom to enjoy the work of our hands,
The freedom to travel, and enjoy our great land.
Freedom to worship in the church of our choice.
How many of us, in these freedoms rejoice?
Lord, walk before us and help us to see,
It's only by the grace of God, we are free.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

Who are You?

I said, Good morning. And she asked, Who are you?
I still thought it strange, after all we d been through.
This dearly loved woman had stood by me for years.
But now she was frightened and wept bitter tears.
Just one day before, she had called me by name,
Now though, I knew, things would not be the same.
I tied her shoes and then helped her stand.
Let s get some coffee. I took hold of her hands.
Like a small fragile child, there before me she stood
Our lives had now changed, it was not for the good.
Who are you? She asked, And why are you here?
I searched for an answer that could help calm her fears.
From a parent to a child, the road she now traveled.
I could but watch as her memory unraveled.
I thought of my childhood, the love that she gave.
My silent prayer was, God, help me be brave.
She could not understand, and I saw now the truth,
The answer I gave when she asked, Who are you?

© 1998, Jerry Ham

The Answer's No

Am I ready for her to go beyond this vale of tears and woe?
Am I ready to say goodbye, to say, Dear God, release her soul?
My heart tells me it's better, for her to leave this life.
But my emotions are all tangled, and there's still a lot of strife.
Each day's a brand new journey, and the path is still unknown.
And Lord you've been beside me and I know that I have grown.
I've bathed and clothed and fed her. I've stood close to guide her feet.
And yes to be quite honest, there are days when I feel beat.
To listen to her talk can sometimes drive me up a wall.
I long to hear the phone ring, just to hear a friendly call.
This lady is my mother, who along with my dear dad,
To bring us up the right way, they gave everything they had.
And now I watch her daily, always with a broken heart.
This terrible disease has pulled us ever so far apart.
The world in which she's captive, is from the distant past,
And I can't help but wonder, how much longer must it last?
Yes, I know it would be better, if God would let her go.
But I have to face the question, am I ready? The answer's no.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

A Mother's sweet Kiss

Where has she gone, this mother I knew,
Who would hold me and hug me, and say I love you?
Where has she gone, this woman who cared,
Who, in spite of my protest, would still brush my hair?
Where has she gone, this woman whose love,
Was but a sample of God's love from above?
Where has she gone, this woman whose kiss,
Along with her counsel and smile I now miss?
My mother has gone to a world far away,
In a far different time, and a far different day.
It's a world that's made up of anger and fear,
It's a world that brings forth her sad bitter tears.
Where has she gone? I know not the place.
I only see the tears on her face.
But the time is coming when I know I will see,
That the place she is now, is not where she'll be.
On that wonderful day, she'll no longer be missed.
But instead she will greet me with a mother's warm kiss.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

Lord, Give Me Grace

Lord, give me the strength to handle today.
Give me the grace to watch what I say.
Give me the peace to help rest my soul,
With the assurance that someday she'll be whole
. Lord, I know that what we're doing is right.
But that doesn't keep us from getting uptight.
To watch her grow weaker is not easy to see.
And I m tempted to pray, take this burden from me.
But Lord, you chose to give us this task.
I know you'll give us what we need if we ask.
As I look at the anger and the fear on her face,
I ask once again, Lord, please give me grace.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

I want my Daddy!

I want my daddy! I heard Mama say.
As I was helping her just yesterday.
The pain in her eyes was so easy to see,
And I felt her longing, as she made her plea.
I wanted to say, Mom, your daddy is gone.
But I knew in my heart, that it would be wrong.
She could not understand that her daddy had died.
If I tried to tell her, she would think I had lied.
Mama, where's Daddy? She asked once again.
I love my daddy, because he's my friend.
It's hard to deal with the pain that I feel.
I know in her world, her anguish is real.
I wanted to comfort, to take hold of her hands,
But she pulled away; I was but a strange man.
I sat her at the table, then as I turned away,
I want my Daddy! I heard Mama say.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

Please take a Hike

Please take a hike, I ask of my friends.
Please take a hike, I'll ask it again.
Now don't get mad, it's not what you think.
No, I'm not crazy, and I don't need a shrink.
I want to see Alzheimer's brought to an end.
Let's join the Memory Walk for family and friends.
The money that's raised is for a good cause.
Let's keep up the fight with hardly a pause.
A disease that destroys the young and the old,
Strikes fear in the heart and turns the blood cold.
It ruins lives and takes the memories away,
It controls what we do, and indeed what we say.
And so once again, I'll ask friends that I like,
Let's join our hearts and, please take a hike.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

We Laughed Together

We laughed together, my mother and I,
As we looked at each other, eye to eye.
Her laughter was good for me to hear,
I thought it much better than seeing her tears.
Her laugh warmed the heart of me, her boy,
And brought to my spirit a little joy.
Her laughter wasn't due to something I'd said,
But some distant memory locked up in her head.
That didn't matter, for I had seen her smile,
And I knew she was happy at least for a while.
As we looked at each other, eye to eye,
We laughed together, my mother and I.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

We Do It For Love

We do it for love, is it words or much more?
Is it cleaning the house, those kinds of chores?
Some days it feels like it s all just a dream,
This can t be happening; at least so it seems.
Then comes the mess, and ugh, it s quite real.
We make the bed, and yes, cook the meals.
We feed our loved ones, and then wipe their chins,
And for that we might get a swift kick in the shin.
We do it for Love, just what does it mean?
There s really more to it, than all of these things.
It may be as simple as just being there,
Holding them close and showing we care.
Just brushing their hair, can bring a big smile,
The first one they ve shown for quite a long while.
We do it for love, can mean taking their hand,
And ever so gently, then we help them stand.
We stay right beside them and walk arm in arm.
We may even fall captive to their child-like charm.
Maybe all we can do is just sit there and cry,
And hold on to their hand as we say good-bye.
Why do we do it, why should we play a part?
We do it for love, means we share from our heart.

©1998, Jerry Ham

The Face In The Mirror

Well hello, how are you? I heard Mama say.
I hope you are well, it is such a nice day.
She smiled as she talked to her newly found friend.
She nodded her head again and again.
How are your children? My, how they ve grown.
It s hard to believe how fast time has flown.
Her voice was pleasant, enhanced by her smile.
She talked on and on, for quite a long while.
We need to go Mama, please say goodbye.
As Mama turned away, she said with a sigh,
That was such a nice lady, sweet and endearing,
I noticed however, that she s hard of hearing.
It was funny yet sad, Mom could not have known.
The face in the mirror, it was that of her own.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

If it weren't for the Clouds

I picked up the plates and walked to the sink.
As I rinsed off the dishes, I started to think.
What am I doing, tell me, why am I here?
Why is this happening? I swiped at a tear.
I reached for my coffee and took a big drink,
As I then realized I was close to the brink.
No one could have told me, when I was a boy,
Bugging my parents to buy a new toy.
That many years later, one day I would see,
The one taking care of my mother, it's me.
Whatever for? I would have replied.
She's strong and healthy! I would have cried.
Now, here we are, and yes, it is true.
I m doing things I never thought I would do.
What was I doing? Oh yes, the dishes.
As I washed away, I thought of my wishes.
I wished for a world that was happy and light,
I wished that the sun would always shine bright.
I wished that my mother were in her right mind,
I wished that each day held a treasure to find.
Then came the thought, My child, don't you know?
If it weren t for the clouds, you'd miss the rainbow.
Yes, storms will come, and they can be fierce.
And on occasion, your heart they will pierce.
But without the clouds, you'd live out your life,
Not knowing the healing that comes after strife.
Your mother is ill, and now it's your turn,
To take care of her. And yes, you will learn.
To appreciate life's lessons, it sometimes takes trials.
You may indeed struggle for quite a long while.
But My grace will help you throughout this ordeal.
And you will learn that My strength is real.
The dishes are done, on mom's face there's a smile.
Some might say it's as wide as a mile.
I love you mom. as I give her a kiss.
If it weren't for the clouds, what would I have missed?

©1998, Jerry Ham

I want to be free

My spirit is asking, Look at me please.
I wish I were free from this wretched disease.
I can not tell you what I want you to hear,
It is all I can do just to shed bitter tears.
The care that you give me, my child, it is kind.
But I see the wreck of this body that s mine,
What life do I have when I m trapped in this shell?
If I could but talk, the stories I d tell.
I remember the years that I lived as a child,
My parents worried that I was too wild.
Then came the years I spent as a teen.
The hours spent looking in the mirror as I preened.
There was no doubt, I knew I was smart.
I knew it all, so I thought in my heart.
Then came adulthood, oh my, what a change.
My life and my thoughts now seemed so strange.
Then came the day when we both said, I do.
Another year later, my child, we had you.
Our life was full of excitement and fun.
I remember how you loved to lie in the sun.
Then you were married, I remember the day.
We love you so much, was all we could say.
Oh we were proud of you and your spouse,
We shared your joy as you bought your first house.
Then came the illness, so subtle it seemed,
At first we hoped it was just a bad dream.
As things grew worse, we knew it was real.
A fatal illness, it was such a raw deal.
And now, here we are, we ve come to the end.
What can I say to my child and my friend?
I love you dearly, I want you to know.
Throughout this illness, I ve watched you grow.
I ll soon say good-bye, but don t weep for me.
Because more than anything, I want to be free.

©1998, Jerry Ham

A Smile and a Hug

Just a smile and a hug, is all that I ask.
No angry words, don't take me to task.
Please remember that I'm not fully here
And even small things can drive me to tears.
Just a smile and a hug, is all that I ask,
While I try hard, my confusion to mask.
I know something's wrong, but what can I do?
How can I help when I don't even know you?
I have to keep asking you again and again.
Are you my spouse, my child, or a friend?
What's going on? I don't understand.
But I need you to take hold of my hand.
I may not grasp what you're trying to say,
But the smile that you give can help with my day.
I may be a pest, but when I give you a tug.
All I want is a smile and a hug.

©1998, Jerry Ham

Humor

Why should humor be a part of my life?
It helps me survive the trials and strife.
Those good heart-felt laughs and warm easy smiles,
Can very much ease the long dreary miles.
The road we travel with this illness is rough,
Sometimes it's all we can do to hang tough.
Too often it seems that life is not fair,
But humor can serve to help clear the air.
Just for a moment our load can seem lighter.
Just for a moment our day can seem brighter.
Why should humor be a part of my life?
It helps me survive the trials and strife.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

Straight from the Heart

Mama, I love you, I just want to say
Not just for today, but for now and always.
I look at the pictures of long ago years.
Memories bring on the smiles and the tears.
You were the beauty, I was the clown.
With smiles and laughter, we'd take on the town.
There were no problems that you could not mend.
You were my Hero, my mother and friend.
The War was just ending, but I didn't care.
All I knew was that my mother was there.
I knew not of the fighting to set others free,
Of course, this child was only just three.
Then a brand new dad came into my life,
When he talked you into becoming his wife.
Our lives grew richer because of this man.
He was strong and steady, with a kind gentle hand.
Then God sent you four more from above.
But through it all, you had plenty of love.
Now Dad is gone, and your children are grown.
And you go on in a world of your own.
In our separate worlds, we live far apart,
But Mama, I love you, straight from the heart.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

A Great Thanksgiving Day

They sought to survive in a harsh new land,
They could only do it with a helping hand.
The natives showed them what to do.
What they gave was a friendship true.
That first Thanksgiving had no TV,
No fancy parades, or games to see.
They gave thanks for what they had,
For a bountiful harvest, their hearts were glad.
Thanks for help God sent their way.
For helping them live to see this day.
That first Thanksgiving was long ago.
What they had learned would help them grow.
The years have passed and we're here today.
If you're asked to give thanks, what will you say?
To be really truthful, sometimes it's hard.
Let me share with you what's on my heart.
Thank you Lord for all You have done.
Thank you Lord for my wife and my sons.
Thank you for friends both far and near,
Who give encouragement year after year.
Lord, bless their homes this day I pray.
May they have a great Thanksgiving Day.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

On Christmas Day

She sat by the window on Christmas Day,
We hoped she could watch the children play.
The house was warm, and full of cheer.
It was time for laughter, no place for tears.
When breakfast was done, we gathered round.
The children were restless as the story was found.
The Scripture was read of the Savior's birth,
It spoke of God's Son who came to this earth.
Then came the corals we loved to sing.
We honored the birth of this newborn King.
There came a voice, a voice soft and clear.
And as we listened, it was sweet to our ear.
My mother 'til now, had seemed unaware.
We knew in our hearts that she could not share.
And yet here she was, with a smile as she sang,
If but for a moment, Heaven's bells rang.
I got to my feet to go give her a hug.
But then I awoke as my feet touched the rug.
It was only a dream, a wish I had made,
As the scene I had witnessed began to fade
She'll sit by the window on Christmas Day.
We wish she could watch as the children play.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

A Gift From God's Heart

The baby was born in a stable that night,
With only a candle, if that, for a light.
Sure, He was cute, as most babies are,
But this special baby was a gift from God's heart.
On a hillside nearby, along with their sheep,
Some shepherds were resting, nearly asleep.
With a light like nothing they had seen before,
An angel announced the birth of our Lord.
He told them the Savior could then be found,
In a manger in a stable, in swaddling clothes bound.
The voices of heavenly hosts they heard then,
Saying, Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.
As the angel left, these men were in awe.
They would never forget the sight that they saw.
As lowly shepherds, they were first to hear.
The Good News of the Gospel rang in their ears.
Our Savior? Our Messiah? Can this really be?
Let's go find the stable, this miracle to see.
They found the child, as they had been told.
They saw the fulfillment of the promise of old.
They knelt and worshipped, then spread the news round,
The promised Messiah had been born in their town.
Two thousand years later, we celebrate too,
That God sent His Son to me and to you.
Sure, He was cute, as most babies are,
But this special baby was a gift from God's heart.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

Nineteen Ninety-Nine

The year is nineteen ninety-nine.
Will these twelve months to us be kind?
Will science make tremendous gains.
In treating diseases that bring us pain?
Alzheimer's, Picks, and other things,
Will a cure for these, this next year bring?
Dare we ask the question, what will it take,
To blot the tears, joyous hearts to make?
To see our loved ones retain their thoughts.
To heal the pain disease has brought.
The year is nineteen ninety-nine,
Will these twelve months to us be kind?

© 1999, Jerry Ham

I'm Still The Child

A child shall lead them I had heard it said.
The thought, Lead who? went through my head.
Childish thoughts that now seem strange,
Looking back, how things have changed.
My parents are strong, they'll always be there.
Dad looked so wise sitting in his chair.
To raise their children, the patience it took.
But they had had it, when they got that look.
We look back now, and laugh and cry.
Sometimes we'll give a wistful sigh.
The good old days? Not true, we know.
But they were there to help us grow.
Now I'm grown and it falls on me.
Am I really the child she hoped I'd be?
I get impatient and want to scream.
Some days seem like a horrible dream.
I help her stand, then guide her feet.
I cook her food, then help her eat.
A child shall lead them, and yes it's true.
I'm still the child, and so are you.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

Your're Giving Your Best

It's not the physical pain you feel,
But in your heart, it's just as real.
The tears may stop, but the pain is bad.
Though you'll smile, your heart is sad.
It's hard to admit, but you know it's true,
You're doing as much as you can do.
You clean the messes on the rug,
You give encouragement with a gentle hug.
You dress and fed the one you love.
You pray for strength from God above.
You fought the illness the best you could,
You did the things you thought you should.
You wonder about the road you'll take,
And second guess the choices you make.
You're tired, but you can't sleep at night,
You ask yourself, Am I doing what's right?
My friend, if I may, give your heart a rest.
I'm sure God knows you're giving your best.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

Better Times Are Coming

Better times are coming, of that I am sure.
When from Alzheimer's, mom will be cured.
There'll be no more heartache, no crying, nor fear.
Her mind will be sharp, her memory clear.
She'll know who we are and call us by name,
But even with that, it won't be the same.
Much better than ever is what she will be.
What joy she will know when this new life she sees.
It's not just a dream, which I share with you,
But faith in our God, and His love which is true.
Yes times are hard, there's more gray in my hair,
But God didn't promise that life would be fair.
Better times are coming, though not in this life,
One day she'll be free from this anger and strife.
Better times are coming, of that I am sure.
When from Alzheimer's, mom will be cured.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

A Caregiver's Heart

What's inside of a caregiver's heart?
Just for a moment, let's pick it apart.
I want to find out what makes it tick.
Why does one take care of the sick?

Here's the scalpel, let's take a look.
For this we'll need no anatomy book.
What's this I see? A stain I fear,
From many a tear over many a year.

This scar here is a fracture line,
One we hid when we said we're fine.
That deep mark there, it shows the pain,
From being accused of looking for gain.

There! Look there! See all that sorrow?
It's for the loved one who's lost tomorrow.
How can it function? How can it cope?
Surely by now it should lose all hope.

What is this glue that makes it strong?
Battered and bruised, it still goes on.
What keeps this heart from falling apart?
Love binds together A Caregiver's Heart.

© 1999, Jerry Ham
When it's Time to let go

God, it's so hard in my heart to let go.
Yet, really deep down, I'll have to, I know.
It's not like our children leaving the nest,
While we fret and worry, will they pass the test?
Our children are growing, becoming adults.
They'll learn to cope with their talents and faults.
But Lord, this is different. I cry bitter tears.
This is a parent, for whom I'm in fear.
This is my mother, who loved me so much.
Now she is in need of my soft gentle touch.
Though she's my mother, it's just not the same.
She no longer knows me, can't call me by name.
Her speech is garbled, it's so hard to hear.
Her memory's regressed to her childhood years.
Where is my daddy? I hear her say,
Or: I killed my mother day after day.
Her time will come, I know that and yet,
I must be honest, and so I confess.
I will not be ready to say my good-bye.
To really back off, and let her soul fly.
Lord, give me strength and the wisdom to know,
And also the courage, when it's time to let go.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

The Promise of Easter

Easter bunnies, pretty new dresses,
Little girls with bonnets and tresses.
Boys decked out in a suit and tie.
Looking like they were about to cry.
Easter lilies stood proud and tall,
At sunrise services we'd hear the call.
That's how it was in my childhood days.
I now look at Easter in different ways.
To me it's the promise of eternal life,
One that is free from turmoil and strife.
Mom will be free of the chains that bind,
And shadows that darken her once sharp mind.
She loved her God with all of her heart,
This terrible illness won't keep them apart.
This life she lives now is her darkest of nights,
Before she enters that wonderful light.
The Promise of Easter is what I hold dear.
That's when God wipes away her tears.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

Why worry about tomorrow?

Why worry about tomorrow, shall I stew about it now?
Shall I say, It is no use, give it up, throw in the towel?
Why worry about tomorrow, will it bring me health and gain?
Or shall I wake up in the morning, in poverty and pain?
Why worry about tomorrow, whatever comes my way?
I've got all that I can handle just to make it through today.
Why worry about tomorrow? There's no point or so it seems.
Will I wake up in the morning and find it's all been just a dream?
Tomorrow is only maybe, and though yesterday was rough.
Today is all I have, and yes, today is quite enough.
Yes, it's fun to dream, and there is nothing wrong with hopes.
But there's still a Master Planner, and He may just tell us Nope.
There is One who holds tomorrow, and only He knows what is best.
So I'll place my hand in His, He will help me meet the test.
I can't worry about tomorrow, it is God's and God's alone.
For today, I'll do my best, and give thanks when it is gone.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

My common Sense

I really need it Lord, where can it be?
Please open my eyes and help me to see.
You know where I am, and just what I need.
Lord, in your mercy, give it I plead.
You know this illness can drag people down,
Instead of smiles, we wear a sad frown.
We want to see our loved one cured.
But where can we go to be reassured?
There is no effective treatment it seems,
That can end this curse that is like a bad dream.
Then comes someone who says: Try this here.
This will cure everything, you need have no fear.
Lord, I must ask, what is really the truth?
For all of their claims, where is the proof?
Before I go spending her dollars and cents,
Let me use what you gave me, My Common Sense.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

OOPS! I did it again

OOPS! Good grief! I did it again.
I opened my mouth and put my foot in.
I jumbled my words; they came out all wrong.
The silence that followed seemed a little too long.
After a soft Oh, I knew then what I'd said
I could see, in the mirror, my face turning red.
If I would just think, before I speak out.
I would say what it was I was thinking about.
I knew well what it was that I wanted to say.
But that's not what came out that fateful day.
Do you have those days when nothing goes right,
From the time you get up until way late at night?
When you crawl into bed, you're hoping, it seems,
You'll wake up to find it was only a dream.
There are those days, when in my chagrin,
I say, OOPS! Good grief! I did it again.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

She hugged me!

My mother hugged me yesterday.
It was so unlike her, it blew me away.
The first several months she lived here with us,
She was terribly angry, and made such a fuss.
She made accusations that I won't repeat.
The language she used knocked me off of my feet.
As her memory faded, she lived more in the past.
As we tried hard, our feelings to mask.
Our names and faces she no longer knows,
We watch as farther in her childhood she goes.
She calls for her parents, with fear in her eyes.
If they don't answer, she sits there and cries.
Her speech is jumbled, her memories shattered
But just for a moment, none of that mattered.
She reached out her arms, and as I drew near,
What happened next nearly brought me to tears.
Something I had never expected to see,
She said, I love you. And then SHE HUGGED ME!

© 1999, Jerry Ham

Should I feel guilty?

Should I feel guilty for the care I give,
For helping my loved one in the life she lives?
Should I feel guilty for keeping her here,
For cleaning her messes, and wiping her tears?
Should I feel guilty for the things I do,
For one whose love for me was true?
Should I feel guilty for the choices I made,
Of caring for her as her life fades?
I sometimes wonder at the path life takes.
I know I m not perfect, I ve made mistakes.
But should I feel guilty? This much I know,
I ll answer with a resounding NO!
© 1999, Jerry Ham

Much too young

They were much too young to be taken away.
But that s what happened that terrible day.
Hopes and dreams, once high, lay in tatters.
Hearts were broken, and families shattered,
Those who survived, the horror they saw,
As they had to watch their close friends fall.
Why them, and not me? They re tempted to ask.
To answer that question is an impossible task.
Our hearts go out to those parents and teens,
God, grant them peace from that horrible scene.
They will never forget, but Lord, give them rest.
Give them the strength to still live their best.
Though parting was bitter, Lord, touch their hearts.
From anger and hatred, let them live far apart.
We just can t explain what happened that day.
They were much too young to be taken away.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

An Answer to Prayer

She kneels at her sofa, though she's up in years,
And prays for her children, her eyes moist with tears.
Her sons and daughters have gone their own way.
She hopes they'll come back to see her this day.
Her tears overflow as she remembers the past.
How could the years have gone by so fast?
It seems like just yesterday, the children were young.
The house rang with laughter, they had so much fun.
The bumps and the falls, and those skinned up knees.
The pigtails, the freckles, and voices that teased.
Oh there were the fights, the howls and the screams.
The cries late at night, when they had those bad dreams.
There was also the church, where they went so long.
Where hearts joined in worship, voices lifted in song.
"Those days were good." She laughs in her heart.
"It's such a shame, that we're now far apart."
The door opens slowly, she hears not a sound.
Feet glide across carpet, as they gather around.
Then she opens her eyes with a start.
As she looks around her, great joy fills her heart.
She sees all her children, and their children too.
They clap and shout, "Happy Mothers Day to you."
With much rejoicing, she hugs everyone there.
"Thank you dear God. It's an answer to prayer."

© 1993, Jerry Ham

A Mother's Day Poem

"Mommy, Mommy!" You ran at my cries,
To where I lay fallen, with tears in my eyes.
You reached out your arms as you drew near,
You held me close and helped dry my tears.
With my little hands, I held on to you tight,
Somehow I knew Mom would make it all right.
Those years have long gone, and now I am grown.
Lo and behold, I have kids of my own.
They have had times when they've cried out in fear.
I've held them close, and helped dry their tears.
I look back fondly and say, "Thank you, Mom."
Whenever I needed you, you'd always come.
You never gave up, or quit praying for me,
That God would make me what I ought to be.
I owe you a debt I can never repay.
I love you Mom....
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY

© 1993, Jerry Ham

A Pause to remember

A pause to remember, and take a look back.
I need that at times to help stay on track.
It s so easy to think, Life just isn t fair!
I look in the mirror, MORE GRAY IN MY HAIR?
I mutter and moan, at the things I must do.
A soft voice asks What s the matter with you?
I look all around; there s no one else here,
But I hear it again as I shed a small tear.
My child, I know that it really seems bad.
But look at your mother at the trials she had.
There were the measles, the mumps and the pox,
You didn t come wrapped in some neat little box.
You were a real trial of her patience it seems.
At times your lives were like a bad dream.
But she hung in there in faith and in love,
And she often called for strength from above.
My child don t forget, I ve always been there,
And yes, even now, my grace I will share.
A pause to remember, and take a look back.
I need that at times to help stay on track.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

I love You

She said, I love you. as I gave her a drink.
It was so unexpected that it caused me to think.
It's one of those blessings that God sometimes gives,
Which serve to lighten the days that we live.
There's no greater gift one person could bring,
Then three little words, that can make the heart sing.
Sometimes, we find those words hard to say,
But they can do much to make someone's day.
I love you too. I said with a smile.
She gave me a grin that made it all worthwhile.
Her memory is jumbled, I know that and yet,
She taught me a lesson, I hope not to forget.
Love's not just a word that we bandy about.
But it's also an action that we carry out.
The words I love you can reach one who's down.
They can touch the heart and erase a deep frown.
Lord help me to share with someone in need,
To say I love you, both in word and in deed.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

The Flowers that bloom

When flowers are in bloom, it's an awesome sight.
As they spread their petals to catch hold of the light.
We water and feed them, and take special care,
As we want their beauty to always be there.
The colors I see are a shock to behold,
They can blend together or stand out bold.
But if I get careless and forget to feed,
I open the door to some dark ugly weeds.
If left untended, they can block out the sun,
And before too long the damage is done.
That's how the memories are in my mind,
As back in the paths of the past I wind.
There is the good and there is the bad.
They both make up the life that I've had.
The question is, which one will hold sway?
Which one will I let take over my day?
Lord, give me the strength to only make room,
In the paths of my memory, for the flowers that bloom.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

There's no more Night

The heart is stilled, but my soul lives on.
To another dimension is where I've gone.
It's a place without time, no pain nor woe.
Thank you my Dear for letting me go.
I know it was hard, to say goodbye.
And yes I know you'll grieve and cry.
My Dear, take comfort, I'll be all right.
I'm in a place where there's no more night.
Look! There He is, with arms open wide.
Child, welcome home. Stand here by my side.
My Dear, I wish you could see me now.
The only word I can say here is WOW!
It is far beyond my grandest thoughts.
What I see here could never be bought.
Friends and loved ones from long years past,
We hug and laugh, we re together at last.
My Dear take comfort, I'll be all right.
I'm in a place where there's no more night.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

You're not to blame

When painful memories come round to call,
And bitter tears then begin to fall.
Why did this happen, what more could I do?
Guilt and shame move in with you.
Could I have done things different somehow?
Is this a dream? Can I wake up now?
It's not a dream; the pain is real,
It's not a scene from some movie reel
A loved one was sick and now is gone,
But you're still here and life goes on.
It's easy to think that you messed up bad,
And now you're down, the heart is sad.
My child, look up, lift up your eyes.
And yes my child, it's OK to cry.
But don't be tricked into playing the game.
Rest assured my child, you're not to blame.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

If Time could stop

If time could stop for just an hour,
Would it halt the wilting of this precious flower?
If time could stop for just a day,
Would it halt this loved one's wasting away?
If time could stop for just a year,
Would it somehow help to dry my tears?
Time stops for no one, I've heard it said.
But my heart says something else instead.
It cries, Please stop and wait a while.
Let me return to when I was a child.
Let me go back to those strong arms,
That held me close and kept me from harm.
Once again Lord, let me see that smile,
That seemed to be as wide as a mile.
But I know full well, it cannot be,
The past is gone, it's the present I see.
Tomorrow's not promised to us today.
But God has said He knows the way.
So, what would I do, what would I say,
If indeed time could stop, just for a day?

© 1999, Jerry Ham

Daddy?

Daddy, where are you? Why aren't you here?
Her voice is anxious, her eyes filled with fear.
Mama, where's Daddy? I want to know.
Where is my daddy? Where did he go?
She's a lost little girl, and she seems so alone.
In a sad soft voice, she sits here and moans.
I watch with a pain that grabs at my heart,
Being a caregiver sometimes tears me apart.
Mama, your daddy has gone far away.
I'm sure you will see him one of these days.
How can I tell her that her father is dead?
She would not understand a thing that I said.
The world that she's in, is one without hope.
And I often wonder, how can she cope?
Her memory's tortured, her voice filled with pain.
She asks for her daddy again and again.
There's naught I can do for this mother I love.
I ask for His grace and strength from above.
She ask once again, her face streaked with tears,
Daddy, where are you? Why aren't you here?

© 1999, Jerry Ham

Dear Lord, why me?

I'd like to ask a question Lord,
if it's OK with you.
It concerns the trials
and the challenges we go through.
Now Lord, please understand,
cause I don't mean to whine,
But I can't keep these thoughts
from running circles in my mind.
Now Lord, I am aware,
that You have a master plan,
And Lord, I also know
that I am just a mortal man.
Your ways are not my ways,
I know that all too well.
Your thoughts are not my thoughts,
that much I can tell.
Yes dear Lord I know,
that indeed Your love is true,
And You will help us do
all the things we need to do.
Lord, it's really hard sometimes,
to see how much I've grown,
I really didn't come here Lord,
just to moan and groan.
If only for a moment,
if You will Lord, let me see,
The answer to this question that I ask,
Dear Lord, why me?

© 1999, Jerry Ham

Ready to go home

I'm ready to go home now. Are the words that I hear.
She forms a faint smile, her eyes filled with tears.
I help her stand, holding onto her hands.
The look in her face, I can't quite understand.
I'm ready to go home now. She says once again.
She seems to be talking to a very dear friend.
I find myself asking, Could this be the day?
That God will come and call her away?
Lord, I know she has loved You for years.
Yet at this moment, my heart fills with fear.
Lord, I'm not ready, I know in my mind.
Yet if You take her, I know she'll be fine.
Lord, one more time, if it's all just the same.
Let her look at my face, and call me by name.
As we walk together, my mother and I,
I resist the urge just to break down and cry.
Take courage my child, look up and take heart.
A soft calm voice makes my fears fall apart.
The time will come when she'll enter My rest.
It's all in my hands, you just do your best.
There's a calm in my heart that soothes like a balm.
Without a doubt I know, she's ready to go home.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

This fragile Child

A fragile child is what I see,
In those sad eyes looking back at me.
"Is this right, Daddy?" I hear her ask.
My heart is breaking, though the pain I mask.
"Mama, Where's Daddy?" I hear her say.
"Is he coming back to see me today?"
She talks from morning to late at night.
But nothing she says really sounds just right.
She holds the spoon, "What is this for?"
She asks the same question regarding the fork.
To dress herself, or to tie her shoes,
Is something she can no longer do.
A fragile child is what I see,
In those sad eyes looking back at me.
But I've known this person a very long while.
You see my mother is this fragile child.

© 1997/1999 by Jerry Ham

More than a Name

Take a close look please, who do you see?
A friend, a loved one? It may even be me.
Because of my illness, I'm no longer the same,
But reach out and touch me, I'm more than a name.
As you go about your activities each day,
You may be tempted to think I'm just in the way.
You hustle and bustle, and run here and there.
You're too busy to smile, or just stroke my hair.
I may not notice the frown that you give,
Nor be aware, you have your own life to live.
I too had a life, filled with laughter and tears.
We made wonderful plans for our later years.
And now here I am, in this world of my own.
I'm lost and I'm frightened, and feel all alone.
How I would like a soft gentle touch,
A kind friendly smile, I'm not asking for much.
Take a close look please, who do you see?
A friend, a love one? It may even be me.
Because of my illness, I'm no longer the same,
But reach out and touch me, I'm more than a name.

© 1999 by Jerry Ham

Have I gone bonkers?

Have I gone bonkers, gone off the deep end?
Be totally honest and tell me my friends.
Caregiver's dementia, I've got it, no doubt.
Will someone please tell me, how I can check out?
Am I already too late? I don't want to know.
Am I now harvesting the seeds that I sowed?
Have I gone bonkers, gone off the deep end?
Be totally honest and tell me my friends.
The scowls I get with those terrible frowns,
Is this how I get those stars in my crown?
Where is my coffee, now where is the cream?
I must wake up from this terrible dream.
Now I'm awake, but where are my shoes?
The things that I want are the things that I lose.
Have I gone bonkers, gone off the deep end?
Be totally honest and tell me my friends.

© 1999 by Jerry Ham

She's in God's Hands

Though we will do all that we can,
We must admit she's in God's hands.
This terrible disease has claimed her mind,
We never know what tomorrow we'll find.
This dear sweet lady who gave me life,
Is my mother, my friend, and Dad's loving wife.
Her care has come to rest on us,
And yes at times she's made quite a fuss.
Though we will do all that we can,
We must admit she's in God's hands.
Against this illness she fought her best.
At times I wonder, will I pass the test?
We clothe and feed, and help her walk.
It's hard to listen to her aimless talk.
We call her name, sometimes she hears,
We try to comfort when she's in tears.
Though we will do all that we can,
We must admit she's in God's hands.

© 1999 by Jerry Ham

An empty Shell

Could I but halt the surging tide,
And build a tower in which to hide.
Could I but change the night to day,
And tell the world just to go away.
Could I but halt the storms of life,
And bypass all this toil and strife.
If I was able to do all this,
My life would surely be naught but bliss.
If that were true, it would not be well.
My life would be an empty shell.
I'd know no pain, no anger, nor fear,
Nor the healing that comes with tears.
I'd not know love that warms the heart.
Nor the lonely ache when we're apart.
I'd not know how to feel and care,
To dry the eyes or to brush the hair.
A hand to hold, and love's first kiss,
There's much in life that I would miss.
So Lord I ask, please help me to see,
The kind of person You want me to be.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

Someone cares

A friendly word can mean so much,
A kindly deed, an encouraging touch.
If I could but reach across the miles,
To lend a hand, or to bring a smile.
Would it lift the spirit, strengthen the heart,
To hear, I love you. though we're far apart?
My friend, these are only simple things,
But there are times when they make us sing.
Sometimes our days with pain are filled,
To just make it through takes all our will.
And so, my friend, I send to you,
These humble words, though they are true.
Words of hope, my thoughts and prayers,
That you would know that someone cares.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

We are not a Machine

We are the caregivers, but wait, there is more.
So please, hear us out before closing the door.
No we're not perfect, but we're doing our best.
We just want to get some things off our chests.
When was the last time you tried to come by,
Or the last time you called, if only to say hi?
Do you really realize just what we do here,
And just how often we are driven to tears?
Our loved ones and we are in worlds far apart,
And their verbal abuse can tear at the heart.
Their physical care can at times be a pain.
And the emotional struggle can be quite a drain.
What is it exactly, we are trying to say?
What would it take to really brighten our day?
A card in the mail, I'm thinking of you.
Or a phone call to ask, Hey! What can I do?
Even better, a visit from family and friends,
To laugh, to talk, and smile once again.
We must be honest, we don't want to demean.
But please understand, we are not a machine.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

I'll choose to remember

I'll choose to remember the good days we've had,
And not just focus on the days that were bad.
I'll choose to remember her warm gentle smile,
Which I have not seen for quite a long while.
I'll choose to remember her strong tender arms,
That I knew would always keep me from harm.
That's not to say my childhood was free,
From the trials of life that shape what we'll be.
Life isn't perfect, and it's not always fair.
But I know I was loved and I saw that they cared.
No, I'm not ignoring the bad that I see.
And sometimes I wonder if her fate awaits me.
But that's out of my hands, there's no use to stew.
There're far more important things that I need to do.
Mom needs my care, the best I can give.
I'll commit unto God, the life that I live.
I'll choose to remember the good days we've had,
And not just focus on the days that were bad.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

A tiny little Bracelet

A tiny little bracelet,
Thin and narrow though it be.
May one day make a difference,
Between what is and might well be.
If a loved one wants to wander,
Out the door and beyond the gate.
There may be nothing we can do,
Except to worry, watch and wait.
But if indeed the bracelet,
With a number etched inside,
Is wrapped about the arm,
It may save the tears we cry.
A safe return we hope to see,
Of the loved one who is lost.
The value of that small bracelet,
May be more than worth the cost.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

My Wish this Christmas Day

Gifts around the tree piled high,
Lights blinking merrily through the night.
Songs of Christmas play soft and low,
The moonlight reflecting off of the snow.
In just a short while the laughter will ring,
And children will ask, What did Santa bring?
The smells of breakfast soon fill the air.
It seems that happiness is everywhere.
Hugs and kisses are passed about.
Who found that mistletoe and got it out?
As I partake of this Christmas Day,
A couple of things I ll try to say.
A day of peace I wish for all,
May sadness not come round to call.
I wish for all a day so bright,
That there would be no room for night.
God bless, my friends, is all I can say.
This is my wish this Christmas Day.

© 1999 by Jerry Ham

Is it too much to ask?

Is it too much to ask? Just a thought I might share.
For a glimpse of compassion, to be seen here and there?
Those who have been there know full well the pain,
And we who are there, feel it time and again.
This disease knows no limits, gender, politics, or race.
It robs its victims of their memory and grace.
For the caregiver, it seems there is pain without end.
And often we wonder, where s our family and friends?
Whatever we were, should not matter I think.
When from life s sorrows we are all forced to drink.
We who have been there, should easily understand,
And reach out with kindness, and give them a hand.
May I not grow so bitter, that I might fail to see.
The pain that they feel, as it has happened to me.
It is not my purpose to take anyone to task.
Just a glimpse of compassion, is it too much to ask?

© 1999, Jerry Ham

Sometimes I Cry

Sometimes I cry, but what else can I do?
This terrible illness is a tough pill to chew.
This once lively lady now lies in her bed.
Just being turned seems to fill her with dread.
More like an infant, she becomes every day,
Dear God, how I hate to see her this way.
Yes, there are those who would say "Let her go."
From deep in my heart, I would have to say no.
This dear sweet lady, once full of life,
Was someone's daughter, a mother, and wife.
She touched lives with her warmth and her grace.
Her love was seen by the smile on her face.
But, sad to say, her life has now changed,
And now, in her mind, everything's strange.
But she's still my mother, so I'll do my best,
To see to her comfort 'til God gives her rest.
I'll do what I can to help calm her fears.
I'll hold her hand as she sheds bitter tears.
There're times when I see the love in her eyes,
But it doesn't stay, and sometimes I cry.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

Saint Or ...?

Saint or ...? Which one could I be?
Which side of me does my dear mother see?
Does she even notice the smile that I wear,
Or does she just see a man with gray hair?
Saint or ...? Which one could I be?
Which side of me does my dear mother see?
Can she see my halo, this bright band of gold?
Which I wear on my head, so proudly, and bold.
OH NO! What's this? They're pointed and sharp.
I'm afraid this means that I can't play my harp.
I'm sorry my friends, I forgot they were there.
They were well covered - I thought - by my hair.
I guess my sainthood has been badly worn,
It appears that my halo is held up by my horns.
Saint or...? Which one could I be?
Which side of me does my dear mother see?

© 2000, Jerry Ham

A Circle Unending

A circle unending, I wear on my hand,
On my third finger, it's a small wedding band.
When I look at this ring with its diamonds and gold,
I'm reminded of the words "to have and to hold."
It was no small promise, these words that we said,
It means we'll hang on in good times and bad.
No matter what happens to darken our way,
After the night, God still brings the day.
Oh there are times when the road seems so rough,
And some will say "I can't do it, it's too tough."
But God gives us strength to hang on and fight,
And so we will do with all of our might.
A circle unending, I look close and see,
A token of the love my spouse gave to me.
Till death do us part, is the vow that we made,
With God as my witness, that vow will not fade.
A circle unending, I wear on my hand.
On my third finger, it's a small wedding band.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

A Mother's Tears

If a mother's tears get you to asking,
She'll probably tell you, "It's really nothing."
But if we look closely, what would we find?
Would they tell us what's on her mind?
Hey there's a tear, shall we take a look?
Let's try to make her an open book.
I will place it under the microscope.
This will give us some clues...I hope.
A range of emotions I'm beginning to see.
A lot of them have to do with me.
There is love and hope, grief and fear,
All this I find in only one tear.
Here's another, let's check it out,
Let's find out what a mother's about.
There's a lot of prayer to God above,
To keep me safe in His great love.
Hey! What is this I'm seeing here?
There's a big surprise in this little tear.
This small little tear is filled with pride,
An emotion she never tried to hide.
Now I'm only beginning to see,
How complex a mother can be.
The love and hope that's in her heart,
Never ends even when we're apart.
It over-rides her grief and fears,
That's what I see in a mother's tears.
Mama, I love you for now and always.
So let me say here, Happy Mother's Day.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

Another Mother's Day

On this, another Mother's Day.
There is so much I would like to say.
I'll kiss her forehead and say, "Hello."
And wish to God that she could know.
I wish deep down she could understand,
The love we send her as I hold her hand.
I'll tell this dear woman, "I love you Mom."
Yet I wish this day would never come.
This Mother's Day will come and go,
But this dear woman will never know.
I pray, "Dear God, let it be her last."
"For her, don't let another one pass."
My mind goes back to far away years,
When Mother's Day was full of cheers.
The flowers, the smiles, the candy and cards,
We knew that we had touched her heart.
On this, another Mother's Day,
There is so much I would like to say.
I'll kiss her forehead and say "Hello."
And wish to God that she could know.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

I'll try not to cry

Five years ago, can it really be true?
It was then we said good-bye to you.
You looked so peaceful there in that bed,
But I can't forget the tears we shed.
It was hard to face, but in truth we knew,
That this was so much better for you.
No pain, no anguish, no more strife,
You were now beginning a much better life.
Although you're beyond the great divide,
I would hope that your heart is full of pride.
Not a day goes by, I'm not thinking of you,
And hope you're approving of what we do.
Dad, I wish that we could talk somehow,
And yet I know you're much happier now.
Until that day when God calls her home.
We'll do all we can to take care of mom,
Memories flow from childhood years,
Sometimes they come with gentle tears.
You sang together when we were young,
Of God's reward when your work was done.
Someday soon we hope and we pray,
She'll leave this life and fly away.
She'll join you with that heavenly throng,
Lifting her voice in glorious song.
Until that day she takes her rest,
I pray dear God, we'll pass the test.
So for now I'll say goodbye,
And on this day, try not to cry.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

The Face of God

I have seen a face not beheld by man,
He holds me gently in the palm of His hand.
I cannot describe the love in His eyes
Or the words that dried the tears that I cried.
How can I tell you of the way that I feel?
My body is whole, Oh My! I am healed!
The body you see is not really me.
That's just the shell of what used to be.
There's no more pain, my mind is clear,
And God Himself has wiped away my tears.
The joy I feel is impossible to tell.
But I wanted to tell you that all is well.
I hope that God will help you to see,
That at last, at last, I am finally free.
I have seen a face not beheld by man,
He holds me gently in the palm of His hand.
For years I've prayed this would be my lot,
And now I have touched the face of God.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

The Folding of the Petals

Means that night is almost here.
The day has turned to twilight;
And the sun soon disappears.
The flowers sleep in silence
As they wait for morning's light.
They seem to be at peace
As they rest throughout the night.
With a growing sense of joy,
The dawn begins to break.
The birds begin to sing,
And the flowers, they awake.
As the sun comes up to touch them
With its rays of blessed warmth.
We watch their petals open,
And reach out with open arms,
The flowers are our loved ones,
Whose blossoms we have shared,
They clothed and fed and taught us,
They showed us that they cared.
And all too suddenly it seems,
They're in the twilight of their years.
As we watch their petals folding,
We can't hold back the tears.
But the story is not over,
They're only resting for awhile,
And when the dawn arrives,
They'll awaken with a smile.
The folding of the petals
Is not the end, oh no.
It's just another step
On the journey we must go.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

The Heroes of Today

Who are the heroes of this world today?
If asked that question, what would you say?
Are they famous people, presidents and kings?
What to my life do these people bring?
Are they actors, singers, athletes or clowns?
Do they really have to be people of renown?
Who are the heroes of this world today?
If asked that question, what would I say?
Would I name someone who is mighty and strong,
About whose exploits, I would go on and on?
Would it be someone who'd done great deeds,
Whom the world applauds for their wonderful feats?
Who are my heroes of this world today?
I'll try to answer that question this way.
My heroes are those who are mostly unknown.
And yes they have days when they moan and they groan.
But they don't cut out when the going gets hard.
They dig in their heels and give of their heart.
They are husbands and wives, daughters and sons,
Struggling to do what needs to be done.
"She needs to be fed," or "He needs to be changed."
The world they live in, to others, is strange.
They are the caregivers, who travel this road.
The trials they've gone through have helped me to grow.
They are the ones who have learned how to cope.
From their experiences, I too can also draw hope.
Who are my heroes of this world today?
They are the caregivers, that's what I'll say.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

A Caress of the Heart

A caress of the heart Lord, I need every day.
To know that I'm loved each step of the way.
Sometimes my troubles weigh hard on my mind,
And the strength to hold on seems so hard to find.
A caress of the heart Lord, is now what I ask,
To help ease the stress of the unending tasks.
My spirit is troubled, so please hear my call.
And give me the grace to keep giving my all.
A caress of the heart Lord, to help calm my fears.
Let me not be afraid of the days, months or years.
Lord, there are many I know just like me.
Their trials and troubles make it so hard to see.
So now Lord I pray, let them have a part,
Of the love that you give, a caress of the heart.

© 1998, Jerry Ham

I Could Do no Less

I could do no less than what I have done,
Though I know in the end, the disease will have won.
No quarter, no mercy, the disease runs its course.
How can we halt this unstoppable force?
God has a purpose, though I don't understand.
There is naught I can do, but put it all in His hands.
I wish I had the knowledge to help find a cure.
But it's far beyond me, I know that much is sure.
Though I know in the end, the disease will have won.
I could do no less than what I have done.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

In the Eyes of the Child

In the eyes of the child, there was wonder and joy,
You could see his excitement at this sparkling new toy.
In the eyes of the parents, you could see their pride.
The love for their child, they did not try to hide.
In the eyes of the child, his parents were tall,
They would always be there should mishaps befall.
In the eyes of the parents, this time would not last.
This child became a teen-ager, and a man all too fast.
In the eyes of the child, his time had now come,
His parents disagreed, now he thought they were dumb.
In the eyes of the parents, he still needed to be led,
They could not understand what went on in his head.
The conflicts would come with the shouts and the screams.
Both the child and the parents thought, "There go our dreams."
But their love was still there though it lay deep beneath,
It was hard to see through harsh words and clenched teeth.
In the eyes of the child, life slowly became clearer.
And the love they shared once again drew them nearer
In the eyes of the parents, he began to mature,
Now he would make it, of that they were sure.
Then slowly and subtly, life started to change,
The mother showed behavior that seemed really strange.
A burnt pan at first, and then misplaced names,
It was clear that she was no longer the same.
This child's now a man and the roles are reversed.
It's a brand new act; they had no time to rehearse.
This parent, once strong, is now frail and weak,
For her mother and father she constantly seeks.
Her son tries to calm her, with voice ever so mild
But this man's now a stranger in the eyes of the child.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

You're not to blame

When painful memories come round to call,
And bitter tears then begin to fall.
"Why did this happen, what more can I do?"
Guilt and shame move in with you.
"Is this a dream? Can I wake up now?"
"What could I do that's different somehow?"
It's not a dream; the pain is real,
It's not a scene from some movie reel
A loved one is sick, may soon be gone.
Could time but stop, but life goes on.
It's easy to think you messed up bad,
And now you're down, the heart is sad.
"My child, look up, lift up your eyes."
"And yes my child, it's OK to cry."
"But don't be tricked into playing the game."
"Rest assured my child, you're not to blame."

© 2000, Jerry Ham

Jerry Ham's e-mail address: Jerry.Ham@werner-saumweber.de

The Sun will rise tomorrow

The sun will rise tomorrow,
though the clouds seem dark today.
The storm is howling fiercely,
and it's hard to see the way.
The path ahead seems rugged,
with its bumps, and big deep holes.
We look forward to the day
when our loved ones will be whole.
The sun will rise tomorrow,
though we sometimes wonder how.
What with all the care and worry,
we think; "Lord, why me, why now?"
Though we feel at times,
we're spinning wildly in the wind,
There's a better day that's coming,
I just can't tell you when.
The sun will rise tomorrow,
this day will soon be past.
And though it seems unlikely,
today's trials will not last.
Today it may seem hard,
and the future we can't see.
I take comfort in the thought
that God will strengthen me.
The storm is howling fiercely,
and I want to run away.
But the sun will rise tomorrow,
and will bring a brand new day.

© 2000, Jerry Ham

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