Tia Lucia Enters the Nursing Home

“…She is reduced to another being.”

I love this poem not only for the humanity it shows, but also for its many layers of meaning.  Deborah Paradez teaches at Columbia University.  You can read more about her and more of her poetry here.

All morning my daughter pleading, outside
outside. By noon I kneel to button her
coat, tie the scarf to keep her hood in place.
This is her first snow so she strains against
the ritual, spooked silent then whining,
restless under each buffeting layer,
uncertain how to settle into this
leashing. I manage at last to tunnel
her hands into mittens and she barks and
won’t stop barking, her hands suddenly paws.
She is reduced to another being,
barking, barking all day in these restraints.
For days after, she howls into her hands,
the only way she tells me she wants out.

– Deborah Paredez
First published in Poetry Magazine

7 thoughts on “Tia Lucia Enters the Nursing Home

    1. Yes, Beth. You put it so well. I’m taking part in a poetry reading tonight where nine poets were paired with nine residents of a nursing home here. We are telling their stories that they can no longer tell. The poems will then be developed into posters and put on the walls of the commons room. My guy was a barber, worked 12 hour days, beloved in his little town. Now he is completely deaf with advanced Alzheimer’s. But with the most beautiful blue eyes you ever saw, and as you said, his soul speaks through his eyes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. what an amazing project. when my mother was suffering from dementia and in an assisted living home, i would sometimes visit during a discussion or event. once, they were discussing martin luther king day and they each shared memories of what race relations were like back in their day. they were unfiltered and honest and very poignant stories. no judgement, just the way it was. i had just come from school and a discussion on the same subject with my kinders. i shared with the elders how my kinders had never experienced racism and that they were shocked how people would be treated differently based on how they looked and they admired mlk for what he did. i was happy they had not had this negative experience in their lives. my mother turned to me and said, “Your parents would be very proud of you.” emotional on so many levels.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for your response, sarah. i think you are right. your post has inspired me to tell this story on her birthday in august, for there is even more background to the story that makes it more poignant.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It takes such mental courage to care for a person without memory by those who have all those stored memories. A friend of mine who was dying said that dying always takes away the thing that was most dear to the person. I’m sure for your mom it was her memories of family.

        Liked by 2 people

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