Alzheimer's · family

Quiet Miracles

I am the world’s biggest fan of quiet, well, one of them anyway.  I love quiet and all the sounds of quiet.

It’s quiet in my home right now.  I hear the fan from my computer and a few birds singing outside. Mary is in the kitchen pouring a bowl of cereal.  It’s quiet.

My father ate a meal at the Manor with my mother the other day.  He commented on how quiet it was.

“It was a lovely meal,” he said, “but nobody spoke at all during it.”

“Well, Dad,” I reminded, “they may be hard of hearing or have dementia issues.”

“There may be all sorts of reasons for it,” he agreed, “but it doesn’t change the fact that there was no conversation.  It just seemed kind of strange.”

I tried to picture a table full of elderly people, focusing on their food and eating in silence.

Our dinner table is never silent.  In fact, it can be a rather raucous affair.

As I thought about the quiet of eating, I remember sitting on our side porch years ago next to a box with Monarch caterpillars and milk weed.  We used to tromp through the field and find dozens of the caterpillars, hiding on the bottom sides of leaves.  We would gather as many as we could find and bring them home to watch the miracle.

A supply of fresh milkweed would keep them busy for days.  If I sat next to the box in the quiet of the day, I could hear the small sounds of caterpillars munching.

Karl drew this caterpillar for me for Mother’s Day




When they had filled their full of milkweed, one by one they found their own private spot and hung upside down.  Magically, they chrysalized into beautiful green and gold jewel boxes.

They hung in silence.  No more sounds of eating.  If they weren’t so beautiful, they would be easy to forget.

Then one day they turned black, and it seemed that hope was gone, but for the slight movement.  A twitch here and there.  I would wonder if I was seeing things.  Slowly, the blackened jewel box would open to reveal a new creature with wet crumpled wings.

The Monarch miracle was one I never tired of witnessing.

It all began with quiet eating.  Strength for the journey.

Is that what is happening at the Manor?  The quiet eating, the gradual withdrawal into a private world, and then, when hope seems gone, the emergence into a new world.

I think there is a great, unimaginable beauty in shedding this earthly skin for wings.

18 thoughts on “Quiet Miracles

  1. It’s a nice image that I’ll hold close to my heart, because as you know, my father is pretty much silent all the time. Thank you for that.

    1. Sometimes it’s so hard to find those silver linings because this whole Alzheimer’s experience is just loaded with such dark storm clouds. I’m glad you found some encouragement here. Hope you’re doing well, Christine.

  2. Sally, this is beautiful, and might have just triggered another “Lois” poem–after I thought I was done with them 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing this!

    1. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your poems each day. Now I’ll be watching for a butterfly to appear 🙂

  3. Quiet beauty – shedding earthly skin for wings. It’s mysterious to watch a butterfly transforming, similar to seeing signs of a loved one’s departing flight. I cling to my husband’s earthly form, but when the time comes, he will bid me farewell until we meet again. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts, Sally. Blessings to you… And blessings to your mom.

    1. It must be so hard for you to let go, but you will be together again.
      Thanks again for your kind words.

Comments are closed.