Tag Archives: aging

A haibun and a Dear Emma journal…just thinking on paper


It’s driving her bonkers visiting so many condos. She is working still but this new place should be affordable when she no longer works and accessible to basic needs. Public transportation must be achievable so she can still get around at all hours of the day and evening. She loves the city for the culture, education and so many interesting events. She loves to read and if her new location does not provide what she needs in books, she wants to be able to hop on a bus and go to her Alma mater, having access to it’s library.

a place to call home

private homes
of strangers

impossible dreams
peace of mine

a place to call home
yet, fearing isolation
single … not alone

(c) Tournesol ’19/10/30

Yesterday she heard a radio broadcast of a man who retired. He talked about how it was a terrible shock to him. She has been planning to write more and teach English part time on line or in person when she retires. She planned on volunteering doing group work like she did a few years ago but somehow she did not feel “at home” in community outreach programmes like she did in Toronto. Why was that? Was she tired of volunteering in the mental health world where she has worked for almost 4 decades, volunteering and working? Well, that would make sense. Even if she offered workshops, she knows she would still be drawn into their narratives that pull at the heartstrings.

And, to hear this man voice his misery with retirement, jolted her. She thought about the time when it will be an END…rather than her usually way of thinking that it will be a new beginning. Even if she got certified to teach last fall, she never really grasped the idea of cutting ties to workforce. She remembers not working for one year when the children were little and she found work to do from home to keep her sanity. Somehow, being productive AND connected to people was a need and not just a desire.

How did she get here? She has always talked about volunteering and working part time here and there to fill her time. She has relished the idea of going to a library or coffee shop with her laptop and writing to her heart’s content. And yet when it is a choice and something in the future, it looks like a dream come true. When it gets closer, it feels like a death sentence. Oh my, why is she seeing her future so bleak? Is it that time of year?

November approaching is like opening your heart and home to death. The only good thing about this month was her first child was born on the 7th. She feels herself slipping into the darkness of despair and numbness. Knowing it is going to happen; understanding the why’s and how’s makes it even more frustrating because that mood just takes control over her. It snickers and sometimes bellows at her weakness. It weighs on her like a heavy duvet with iron fists keeping her under, and all she can do is concentrate on breathing…waiting for a break in that dark sky. Until then, she will go through the motions…work three days a week; listening to the darkest stories from callers, searching for hope. She sometimes, feels like a hypocrite not being able to take her own advice. She can hear them, feel them, open her heart to them and engage them and help them get to a safer and lighter place even if it’s just for a night, one more day, one more week. If only she could have someone like that to do the same for her.

It is probably one of the toughest parts of being in the service profession. Police officers, first responders, nurses, physiotherapists, massage therapists, doctors, teachers and social service workers and any other outreach career, have the same risks of slipping. Some take comfort with their family, friends and balancing self-care. Others drink too much or eat too much. The things they see or hear are not things you can share and vent with a friend.

In Toronto she had a great therapist (doctor/masters in social work) covered by healthcare. She was even her doctor and her support was helpful and refreshing. Even her doctor would pick her brain on ideas for clients she had who were parents.

She doesn’t feel it really matters where you live. It is how she feels inside…the heart of any home is the soul of the person living there. The living space can be spotless or cluttered, shiny or dreary, quiet or noisy, it all depends on what is going on inside that person. However, lots of windows make a huge difference…just being able to look at the sky; looking out and also seeing life around her like pedestrians, cars, squirrels and chipmunks. Seeing life is vital…it is a connection to the living and she can relate more and more to older people she worked with years ago. She is minutes away from any of these persons now.

She so admired their energy and persistence to keep moving and staying involved with social events. She wonders what their secret was when that heavy duvet weighed them in the morning or when it hurt to move a muscle or hurt even more to open their eyes. She did get advice from her 90 yr old aunt one time. Roll out of bed, shuffle to the bath and run a nice hot bath to oil the joints; then you can move!
She does this on most mornings now.

Maybe she could learn from more retired people. Experience is worth its weight in gold…now she is feeling a bit more hopeful. Thanks, Emma, for listening.

Daily moments Oct 30 2019, clr


Daily Moments – time alone (Free Verse) March 31 2018

(c) Clr’18

are we really?

city streets filled with sweat
winter’s thaw mixed with smog
midnight walkers’ spirits run
stench of liquids giving buzz
panhandlers shouting for extra dough
homeless silent at their corners
minding their own business
a cardboard bed and brown paper cup
their presence never taunt or shout

commuters rushing by to work
no longer notice these city folks
immune to smells and poverty
they hail a cab or take the train
subway stations soon fill fast
people speed to catch their train
sometimes stalled for quite some time
a suffering soul jumped on the tracks
the driver sits, frozen in shock
nightmares of drivers to maim or kill
their job is hell…life’s lost its thrill

nine to fivers are not the same
some rushing home to join their claim
others dawdle and take their time
sometimes spend their very last dime
stretching their dreaded return home
deafening echoes they must postpone
screams of silence await those alone

are we really?

the retired man goes out early
no newspaper at his doorstep
he walks up to the newsstand
his next stop at Claudette’s diner
his regular special like every day
his coffee topped off without a say
other patrons join him sometimes
they talk about the good old times
and whine about the government
come afternoon he may go home
to feed his cat and quench the plants
sitting in his comfy chair
the purring is a lullaby
a short nap is well deserved
he may go out or read his book
but when he looks out the window
sun smiles with her alluring look
and so he goes out once again
his cane in hand – not for his legs
but for his safety – one never knows
the dangers on these city streets
it’s busy now, he sees all kinds
he walks along the inner side
even though the sidewalk’s wide
different crowd of night people
barely awake, their pompous stride
hustling for their daily preys
pestering ‘specially the old and meek
most likely need their daily fix
its still too early for nighttime tricks
staggering along the city pavement
a panhandler leans into a man
smooth talking with a crooked smile
menacing and insistent
he blocks pedestrians all the while
the man stops suddenly and lifts his cane
he pleads to be left alone
the hustler laughs and taunts again
until a new prey walks along
he finally leaves this frightened man
an older woman has stopped to watch
the taunting scene, her phone in hand,
her finger on the number 9
and then a sigh of pure relief
when all seems safe, she’s on her way
and as she enters an eatery
she bumps into the same old man
gnarled fingers curled on his cane
she tells him she is so relieved
he’s safe- no longer aggrieved
the man looks down
he was so tall!
his smile shows how he too is pleased
although alone, there’s always
someone around, you see!
there’s people who actually care
even if you live alone

we are on this path of life
forming tracks of our very own
but when the shadows are well defined
footprints of a sacred divine
one is really never alone.
© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts ‘18/03/31

Searching likeness (Shadorma – Tilus)


seeks reconnaissance
sun reflects on golden pond
unlike empty eyes.

Insights, comprehension

In a daze
strives for some semblance
who is this old face who gapes?
where has time escaped?

rouses from a deep sleep
spots her, in

Is this fate…
reality bites
I shall change
cast off all senility
inhale lucidness.

Embrace reflections on
this pond…see,


© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/05/27

Submitted for: Mindlovemiserysmenagerie Shadorma Photo Prompt #9

A shadorma is composed of six non-rhyming lines (sestina or sextet) and the syllable pattern is 3-5-3-3-7-5.  It can have as many stanzas as you like, just as long as each stanza follows the syllable pattern mentioned above .  You have a week to create you poems so be patient and let the photo inspire you!  Or use your own photograph or art work!

Tilus – the poem is divided into two parts, the first consisting of two lines of 6 – 3 syllable count.  The second is composed of a single one syllable word.  The goal of the tilus which must not be more than 10 syllables is to contemplate the world of nature and how it can open the door of understanding life.

Older and bolder

Artist: Patricia Ariel


As a teen she felt insecure, shamed
she simply wanted to hide away
felt undressed with eyes, defamed,
made her feel on public display;
passing construction sites
the worst of all transgression
feeling eyes taking wee bites
of her dignity, her self assertion.

And then she grew so much older
could finally saunter down a street
head up high and feeling bolder
no comments heard, indiscreet
suddenly she had become invisible,
walked in stores, not even noticeable
sales clerks gazed above her head
wishing to cater to a younger set
20 and 30 something adults instead.

travelling on busses and subways
she disappeared in so many ways
youths with their real smart phones
ears plugged, heeding their drones
mostly self-absorbed with conceit
rarely considering to give up their seat
she had become invisible…and yet
she saw the hunched backed person
mounting the steps with a cane,
a man struggling to breathe in vain,
a woman with child still in her belly
who could miss a thing of such beauty?
they too had all become invisible
how come she could still see these people?
offering her seat, was the only suitable
and proper thing to do…

Getting older gives her freedom
no longer fraught, not even a tussle.
by salespersons or deviant men
she walks anywhere without a hassle.

It can be trying in eateries
when waiters just ignore
older women frequently
assuming this group of females
will seldom produce a nice gratuity
ah yes, that rule may be unspoken
they cater more to men of all ages
presuming they will get a better token.

How very rude and pejorative
to hold on views so negative!
but as long as older women stay invisible
they may as well make their tips miniscule. {grins}

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/03/01

A fun prompt at DversePoets, Poetics Invisibility  

Visiting Mom and her demon friend

me as a childI need to visit Mom today.  I need to feel or remember that enormous love and bond we have…had.   I never question being loved when I am with Mom…EVER!    Her spirit, her soul, her heart is somewhere in her body…her mind has been invaded as well, poor mom no longer has to battle Worry and Insomnia…finally she is at peace but her demon has robbed me of her enchanting presence…how I miss her quirky remarks, her contagious laugh and her soothing arms around me.

I will visit her today…I need to drift off into my imagination…just hold her hand…she still kisses my hand and my face if I approach her close enough and whisper, “Hi Mum”…she sometimes holds her breath for a split second and she kisses me and holds my hand tightly…then I know for a split second she escaped the clutches of her own demon…Dementia.mom and me nov 10 2012