Blog 54: The Funeral

Bill’s funeral was held on Friday 2nd March 2012. The slideshow segment finished with this photo:

Blog 054 image 1

It was a fitting photo to finish on, for Bill had never been frightened to live his life, to try new things, to face the challenges, to set his course and follow it through.  And that’s what he did when he battled that damned disease they call dementia.

At the funeral, Matthew read a poem. It was sent to us via a friend who worked in aged care.  Written anonymously, it came to us titled: Cranky Old Man.  Before the funeral, I adapted it to fit Bill’s story.

So, here it is, for you to read, an apt tribute to Bill and to all those who are forced to tread that path….

Demented Old Man

 What do you see, people?  What do you see?  What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?

A demented old man, not very wise, uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food and makes no reply when you say in a loud voice: I do wish you’d try!

Who seems not to notice the things that you do and forever is losing a sock or a shoe?

Who, resisting or not, let’s you do as you will with bathing or feeding the long day to fill?

Is that what you’re thinking?  Is that what you see?  Then open your eyes, you’re not looking at me.


I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still.   As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of two, with a father and mother, a brother and cousins who love one another.

Then a teen of sixteen, with wings on his feet, dreaming that soon now a lover he’ll meet!

A groom soon at twenty, my heart gives a leap, remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five, now, I have young of my own, who need me to guide them and secure them a home.

As a man of forty, my young have grown fast, bound to each other with ties that should last.

At fifty, my three sons have grown and are gone, but my woman is beside me to see I don’t mourn.

Then, at sixty, once more babies play round my knee.  Again, we know children, my loved one and me.


But dark days are upon me ….. Dementia! they said.  I look to the future, I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing young of their own.  And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old man and nature is cruel.  It’s jest to make old age look like a fool!

The body, it crumbles!  Grace and vigour depart!  There is now a stone where I once had a heart!


Yet, inside this old carcass, a young man still dwells.  And, now and again, my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain, And I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast,  And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.


So, open your eyes people, open and see, Not a demented old man ….. look closer ….. see me.


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a blog about my dementia journey


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