A Remembrance of Wayne

(for my buddy, whom I never met)

By Harold

It is Thursday --
11:00 o'clock on a drizzly morning ...
The Obit. column in the paper stated simply
And without any interpretation or significance:
Wayne ..., age 50 passed away Aug. 31st
At the city hospital,
And that the funeral would be today.

The cryptic announcement
Has no way of telling
About the heart-ache and grief -
The hopelessness of being helpless;
No way of explaining to people about
Those agonizing 15 years
Of being completely dependent on others.

Perhaps there were some times when
The closest family members, in love, lost patience.
And the neurologists and doctors
Tried one cure after another -
Never to succeed in stopping
The terrible shaking and biting,
(Because of the disease we have named after Dr. Huntington).

Our mothers both had this sickness, Wayne.
Mine thought it was her change,
Until diagnosed correctly at a clinic.
We know now that her father, my grandfather
Prayed long agonizing hours on his knees
For God to take away his frightful temper and shaking;
He thought the devil was possessing him!

In our family the nerve deterioration
Comes some years later than in yours,
And I feel very deeply humbled -
Grateful that I still have some days
Of usefulness; but the agony
Of seeing your family suffer
Is very great.

Four years ago they took away
My driver's license. My feet were
Too shaky, I was an unsafe driver.
Foolishly I let this depress me,
Retreating more and more into myself.

But I don't dare look inward -
There is much yet to be done.
If God gives me more years - I am fifty-two
(Nearly the same as you.)
They must be spent in usefulness.
There is much yet to learn,
Of so many friendships and kindnesses.

There is comfort and uplift
At the Throne of God.
And for your family, today
Which is taking up its cross of suffering
You know that the Lord is already there,
To uphold you all and gird your feet
With a new strength.

In King David's life there were many joys,
And also heart-breaks.
His words from the 31st Psalm are:
"Be of good courage
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All ye that hope
In the Lord."

Rainy days and funerals - together they're depressing.
But when the rains stop
And the clouds move away
There is a burst of new sunshine
Cascading over our souls -
Reminding us that in all things,
We can fit within the Eternal Love and Plan of God.

This poem has been transcribed with permission from the author's wife. The author had Huntington's Disease and died in 1986.

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Last updated: Dec. 7, 2010