“All artists must learn the art of surviving loss: loss of hope, loss of face, loss of money, loss of self-belief.” – Julia Cameron, THE ARTIST’S WAY.
In November of last year, my widowed mother was diagnosed with mid-stage Alzheimer’s. In January, she required a full-time caregiver in her home. In late February, she suffered a psychotic breakdown and had to be admitted to a secure facility. Thanks to a change in medication, she has come back around but her memory is deteriorating rapidly. In some ways, she is not aware of losing track of minutes, days, weeks. For the rest of the family, it is sad and frustrating and stressful.
While cleaning out my mother’s house, I found a poem titled “Don’t Quit” that she had tucked into a drawer. Ironic, yes. Her mind is shutting down. Her eyesight is failing from cataracts and glaucoma. The neurologist is concerned that she is beginning to show signs of renal artery failure. And yet here is this scrap of paper with words of hope. I don’t know when she clipped it. Or from where. It could have been years ago. Maybe it helped her hang on this long. She’s 88 years old now. Her mother was only 62 when she had died of complications from Alzheimer’s.
When I decided to share the poem in my blog this month, I discovered that it ties in nicely with Debra Mullin’s blog entry on yesterday’s A Slice of Orange, in which agent/author Lucienne Diver states: “Donâ€™t give up and donâ€™t let rejection get you down. Rejection is part of the process. . . . youâ€™ll never make it to the goal if you get disheartened and stop along the way. “
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill When the funds are low and the debts are high And you want to smile, but you have to sigh When care is pressing you down a bit Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns As every one of us sometimes learns And many a fellow turns about When he might have won, had he stuck it out. Don’t give up though the pace seems slow You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than It seems to a faint and faltering man; Often the struggler has given up When he might have captured the victor’s cup; And he learned too late when the night came down How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out The silver tint of the clouds of doubt And you never can tell how close you are It may be near when it seems afar; So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.