Past Present Future written by Diane F. Byrne

Past present future light


Past Present Future

(Dedicated to all those working for a future without Alzheimer’s disease



In the past she was a beautiful woman, my mother, lover of life, my guiding light, warm compassionate gentleness radiating through all she touched so kindly.

In the past she was the fastest typist that ever was, she bragged 100 words a minute on that old Underwood and nary a mistake. (I never did thank her for all those school papers she typed at the last minute.)

In the past she was a singer—mezzo soprano music melody of angels and leprechauns “Oh Danny Boy” “Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra” Irish lullabies sung whenever the mood struck her. (She embarrassed me often singing in elevators and department stores)

In the past she was a wonderful cook, her kitchen full of love and the smell of vanilla, cinnamon and honey. (I can see her clearly now clad in that silly brightly flowered. Flour covered apron)

In the past she was my spirit, my steadfast pillar, my mentor, vibrant gracious mother a ball of fire fervor left-wing political activist fighting for causes near and dear to her heart with warm-hearted compassionate zeal. And before this, and,

In the past, Alzheimer’s was a word I could not spell.



In this present, she is a whisper. Only threads are left from her beautiful life tapestry and memories fleeting that always make me remember and remember and remember. So,

In this present, I cook for her with skills I learned oh so long ago in that kitchen of love. And now my mother, gentle, is angry, frustrated, sad so I sing to her to calm her fury “Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra” an Irish lullaby, And,

In this present, yes Alzheimer’s care and research has come a long way Mama, and, yes awareness too. But oh no, not enough, not enough, not enough. And now,

In this present, I am her spirit, her guidance, her tree of like, her voice, her advocate, as slips away and away and away. And

In this present Alzheimer’s has become a word that I have come to hate,



In the future, that fragile future hers and mine in that future only questions to ask. How long this burden lasts? And if long will I last? My mothers heredity, my heredity, oh God my daughter’s heredity? A cure to be found? To what end this pain? More suffering? To what end? Why? We are already to full up with sorrow. I know that

In the future I must bid farewell to my Mama dear. Relieved, I will buy her a bouquet of forget-me-nots and violets for her trip to heaven and ravaged too, I will promise her that

In the future Alzheimer’s will be a word that we only knew in the past.


Diane F. Byrne

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