(Poem by ‘Punkin’)
Science says it releases heathy chemicals to hear our name spoken by others
When I was little boy, my Momma used a pet name for me (I was Punkin’)
VERY early in life I held this “Punkin’” name separate in my mind from my sisters’ and brothers’
Even though my grip on the language had not really sunk in.
Funny how it works: There is a big difference between a “Come on in, Punkin’. It is time to eat”
And a “Mark. Allen. Applegate., you get your rear end in here right now!!!”
Surely the tone of her voice mattered…was it stern or was it sweet?
But it was the use of my full real name (eek… even my middle one!) that raised my brow.
It could very well be pride that makes our name roll off other’s tongues like butter,
My heart glows like Iron Man’s sometimes when my name is called out loud.
At graduation, on TV, and of course at my wedding, hearing my name made my heart flutter
In self-congrats I am a natural. Even in these verses I’m a pro at being proud.
However, when my mom developed Alzheimer’s, hearing my full name changed its luster.
While I still loved hearing her say it, I had bigger…much bigger fish to fry
See, one of the ways we “discovered” dementia’s grip on her mind was her fluster
Remembering my beloved Punkin’, or even my real name, as hard as she may try.
14 years later I sit with Momma most evenings, her words are few and mostly salad.
When people, with various reasons, ask me “Does she still know your name?
Knowing No, but wishing yes, I will reply, to show the question valid,
That saying Punkin’, or just feeling it from her wonderful heart…to me it is all the same.
And someday soon, when she has finally left this world for her eternal reward
She will have a head start on me getting to know heaven’s magnificent joy.
But when my card is punched and the Lord welcomes me, of all people(!), aboard
With our Lord she will shout “LOOK! There’s my Punkin!!’” just as when I was a little boy.