Cuddly Pudsey Onesie

Not about me or my mum  🙂

The nursing home claims to
“Add life to dwindling days.”
The staff pin brittle smiles
Over battle weary faces,
Masking the reality,
Stinking, raw, mortality.
According to the family roster
It was my turn to visit her.
I stood outside the ward door
Faking my face into,
“Nice to see you, Mother.”
Mum, hunched in bed,
Propped by bolsters,
A shrivelled grotesque
Hinting of Dettol and pee.
Oblivious to the incongruity
Of her cuddly Pudsey onesie.
“Ma, you look wonderful tonight.”
“What are you doing here?
Where’s your sister or your brother?
Their visits are much better.
Get your hair cut, scruffy bugger.”
“Where did you get the onesie, Mum? Nice threads.”
Unused chairs surround the bed,
“No visitors today?”
Mum sniffed and shrugged,
“Who cares? What you brung me?”
“A bunch of daffs…”
“How many times do I have to tell you?
Don’t waste bleedin’ money on flowers!”

“Tin of pears…Del Monte – halved Bartletts – your favourites.”
“Heavy syrup?”
“Sorry, old girl, sugar’s bad for you.
The Spar sold out of spam.
I got you salmon instead.
John West – the best.”
“Less of the ‘old’ – you ain’t too big to clump.
What about me Special Brew?”
“Sorry, Mum, no can do.”
She whispered,
“Living? What is the point?
I feel so bleedin’ knackered.
It’s all gone friggin’ dark in here.
Switch on the lights
I can hardly see your ugly mug.”
“It’s not dark yet, Ma, but it’s getting there.”
She gazed into the face of no one there,
Chatting with someone I could not see,
Giggling like a dizzy teen.
I wiped her face,
Brushed her hair,
Wishing for a surer
Deeper sleep to engulf her
To lap her gently
Into that farther ocean
Beyond all harms.
“You watching me poodle?”
The dog was at the vet for euthanasia –
I nodded anyway.
She spread her arms,
“Come here, give your old Ma a hug.
Sing ‘Bluebells’ for your dad and me.
He sung it wonderful, he did.
We was just talking ‘bout how much we loved it.”
I sang, “I’ll be your sweetheart,”
Softly in her ear
For her, for him, for them.

She breathed a contented sigh,
But she was going nowhere gently.
Her fingers gripped me tight
Against the fast encroaching
Dark good night.

I gazed at the sudden shining, radiant,
Smiling young girl face,
Leaned over and kissed her cheek,
“Bon voyage, Ma.”

© coolhermit 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Good grief Collhermit you could have warned me, I’m welling up here. such a gentle heart felt poem love her character and that wire like strength that comes with old age, so sad but so beautiful, well penned and much enjoyed. Keith

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