I Don’t Know Who I Am Anymore

I don’t know who I am anymore

Years have been lost for both of us

As your memory has declined, mine has filled with only the trauma of keeping you safe

My hell and my heaven have merged in this neverending quest to make the most of your time, not mine

As I hold onto the hope that there will be time for me yet to come

Although, as life has a habit of surprising us, I might die first

Every day, it feels like I am dying

I am losing sight of my life as it shrinks, fades, receding ever further from me

Decisions are impossible to make 

A future impossible to build

As we don’t know what is 

Walking side by side along a path that is being swallowed by quicksand faster than we can place our feet upon it

Yet, you are oblivious to my existence other than when I stand in front of you

Then, and only then does a spark of what once was appear on your ageing and vacant face

No longer a bright smile to make it all worthwhile

Just a clouded gaze that tells me that somewhere deep in the recesses of your mind there is a flicker of recognition

Not for the baby I once was in your arms

Not for the girl who watched you choose others ahead of her

Not for the young woman whose pain you chose not to acknowledge or comfort

Not for the woman standing in front of you, giving up her life moment by moment 

Hoping that I can somehow grasp a shred of something left behind in you that could be for me and me alone

As your need for my presence to anchor your own to this world evaporates to nothing

Your understanding of my purpose in your life has become perfunctory; 

To you, I am nothing more than a guardian, an overseer, a bearer of standards of care

My dreams, hopes and joie de vivre have been replaced with anxiety, fear and anticipatory grief

As I watch more of you leave this world with every waking day

My own world has spun further away from me, as has yours, stuck in a revolution that never ends

Taking with it all that I have worked for, all that I have achieved, all that I ever wanted for myself

Because, above all else, I wanted you to be the mother I have always yearned for

Now, without letting go of that thread of need, which is impossible to snip

I have almost nothing of you left to cling on to

No imagined place of safety in your embrace

No imagined place of safety in this world

No time and place to just be me

I don’t know who I am anymore and am afraid I am lost forever. 

© Toula Mavridou-Messer 2023

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