This frail age-ed woman who stands before you
was once someone vital with life to live too.
I was once young and pretty, a new bride to be,
not always trembling as life slipped from me.
A mother of several, and proud of them all,
not this unsteady woman trying hard not to fall.
I walked with my head high viewing the world,
dancing till dawn as I waltzed and I twirled.
My husband—my equal as we toiled side-by-side,
back then not a burden to keep up with his stride.
Now my body betrays me with shaking and trembles
like that leaf in the wind I know it resembles.
Pain on the faces of those loving me still
make me cry out to have back my free will.
My mind is a jumble where once it was clear,
quick with the memories I held oh so dear.
I hate Parkinson’s! It’s stolen my youth!
It takes away smiles, hides emotional truths.
The doctors are puzzled—a cure they can’t find.
Most of the medicine plays tricks with my mind.
So please don’t ignore me like I don’t exist,
deep in my heart I still long to be kissed.
Don’t stare at me and see just the disease
for I’m the same woman wanting only to please.
Accept that I’m here within this frozen shell,
inside of this tomb madly ringing the bell.
The last line depicts the bygone practice of a person sitting alertly by the grave
of a friend or family member on the night of their burial to listen for the ringing of a
bell that was perched atop the ground with a string strung back to the inside of
the coffin, tied securely around the deceased’s finger. This guaranteed if
someone had fallen into a coma and was only thought to be dead, they would not
be buried alive.
Before embalming was practiced, burials ensued quickly after death, and
mistakes were sometimes made.