When you live with someone diagnosed with a terminal illness you will do anything, go anywhere to find a cure, ease the pain, keep that loved one comfortable and with you as long as humanly possible. How about when that terminal illness is incurable, and the march to death's door is a slow, and steady spiral down an unknown and darkened path?
For me that means doing whatever I can to cling to the hope that I/we can slow the progress and keep a loved one close and cognizant as long as possible. Certainly that means medication, vitamins, but also ... for me, dance and movement.
Research on neuroscience tells us that movement stimulates neural development and creates unique "motor memories" stored in different areas of the brain compared to other memories. In all the years my love and I have been together we have never been into dancing, of any sort, size, or type. In the times I tried to coax her out on the dance floor it was a struggle, that might end with one quick spin around the boards. Can't blame her as I was born with two left feet, complete lack of rhythm, and a propensity to dance ON the feet of my partner.
However, something has changed and now my beloved truly enjoys dancing. For me the drive to dance is fueled in part by watching her come alive when we hit the dance floor. She is more alert, more verbal, smiles and laughs, and for those few amazing hours when we let the music carry us away there is a glimpse of my old beloved come back to visit. I know in my heart of hearts this is no cure, and that bastard Alzheimer's will eventually sweep my beloved off the dance floor. However, until he dares to wrest her from my grasp we will dance our way through life... in the living room and the kitchen, down the street and along the riverbanks, and in the gin filled honky tonks and bars of this one horse town... we will dance and swing, jiggle and jive so I can can keep my beloved alive.
I wrote this poem awhile ago after a particularly poignant dance session with our favorite local band, the Downtown Horns. I share it with you now in the hopes you will enjoy. As always thank you for stopping by and giving me a read.
I’m no Fred Astaire
You’re no Ginger Rogers.
Dancing with the Stars
Would give us a quick boot.
Simply put, I am me and you are you.
Wouldn’t have it any other way.
For we are not dancing for dollars
Nor seeking international fame
Our prize is much higher than a glittery-ball.
We dance for our lives.
Stumbling across the boards
To wrest the memories
From that bastard…
Out on the dance floor,
Among the drunks, the alcohol
The exuberant youth
We clutch to each other
Seeking sanctuary in a quiet corner
Or at the outer edges
Where jitterbugging lovers
Or whirling dervishes
Are less likely to sink our ship.
No matter the tempo…
Slow and sensual
Rock and roll
Rhythm and blues
You hold on tight
Gazing into my eyes so intensely
My head hurts.
And finally you do it…
To whisper sweetly in my ear,
“I love you Michael.”
Tenuously I reply
Hesitant to break the spell
“I love you too my darling.”
Then… those two words you utter
That send me soaring with the angels