Thank you to Simon for taking the time to share this beautiful poem inspired by his experience visiting his mum. Simon told us:

“I have been inspired by some of the poems that you publish in your newsletters and email updates. So much so that after my last visit to see my mum when I got a “hello” and a big smile for the first time in several months I thought I would complete what I had started.

“Like many families, Alzheimer’s and dementia has hit us hard and in different ways and like many families I still go and see my mum when I can, however personally upsetting and difficult the visits may be.

“I have called this poem “I have an illness” which when you read the first letter of the lines downwards says it again. It is not my mum’s fault she is ill, she has an illness and she is still my mum and I love her dearly.” 

I have an illness.

I have an illness, do not be ashamed.

Hold my hand, sit with me, and talk

As sometimes I may remember you.

Voices and faces that once were familiar

Eventually I will recognise no more.

All of this may be difficult for you, when

nodding and smiling may be all I can do.

I may not say it, but I still love you.

Little by little I’ll fade away

Love and respect me whilst I’m still with you,

Never forget me when I have gone.

Even on the days when the visits upset you,

Stay a while and be with me, please.

Someday I’ll only be in the stars and your dreams.

By Simon Ingram-Hawkes