We just received from Berlin this testament to the bond between grandmother and granddaughter. Nayeli, a 17 year-old granddaughter, is trying to find a way to be with her grandmother Blanca Nieves, and from that search comes a poem. It is not the first poem we have received from family members of people with Alzheimer’s. They have difficulty expressing themselves in conventional language and, as a result, this poetic form allows them to open up their hearts to a special experience: to a love and to a form of communication that breaks through barriers…
It’s difficult to see you,
It’s uncomfortable to see how you suffer.
I want to look the other way but it wouldn’t be fair,
You don’t have that option.
You cannot get away from this.
Your fragility makes me feel fragile
And I’m sorry I cannot help you
It hurts my heart.
Our lives are so different.
A year without seeing you,
I explored the world.
You were here.
But today our tears unite us.
For you, impossible to remember.
For us, impossible to make new memories.
Here we are,
Looking at each other,
both of us asking
who is she?
You don’t recognise me
I don’t recognise you.
An hour by your side and it all becomes clear
It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand me.
The important thing is for me to share.
It doesn’t matter that I never knew
the woman you were 20 years ago,
because I carry her within me.
Your songs, I sing them
your son, he is by my side
Your love, I can feel it.