Do Not Ask Me To Remember – An Alzheimer’s Poem

Alzheimer's Poem

Alzheimer's Poem

Alzheimer's Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.  Dealing with Alzheimer's Disease can have grave consequences for both sufferer and for caregiver.  After dealing with his wife's declining condition over time, Mr. Owen Darnell wrote a poignant poem that helps put things in some perspective.

Owen's wife Esther had graduate degrees after studying at Columbia and University of Havana in Cuba.  Following her cognitive decline, Mr. Darnell had no choice but to place his wife in a nursing home, much to the chagrin of relatives.  Unless you've dealt with a silent killer like Alzheimer's, most folks just don't understand how devastating and debilitating certain forms of dementia can be. Mr. Darnell's tribute allows us to see the disease from the other side…

Do not ask me to remember,
Don’t try to make me understand,
Let me rest and know you’re with me,
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.
I’m confused beyond your concept,
I am sad and sick and lost.
All I know is that I need you
To be with me at all cost.
Do not lose your patience with me,
Do not scold or curse or cry.
I can’t help the way I’m acting,
Can’t be different though I try.
Just remember that I need you,
That the best of me is gone,
Please don’t fail to stand beside me,
Love me ’til my life is done.
– Owen Darnell

The Orlando Sentinel wrote a lengthy article about Mr. Darnell's Alzheimer's Poem that you can find here:  It's called “Alzheimer's Care-giver Shares Pain, Offers Help“.  The reporter (Bo Poertner of The Sentinel Staff) noted that Owen Darnell wrote a 26 page booklet called A Room Without Doors to help caregivers understand dealing with loved ones suffering with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. (We couldn't find the booklet, but we'll keep looking.)

Alzheimers Poem


  1. I am the Chairperson of Seychelles Alzheimer’s Foundation. I would like to ask for permission to put the poem in music. I often read the poem which was sent to me by my daughter. My husband has Alzheimer’s Disease for the past 8 years. I found this poem helps me a lot to take care of him. Thanking you in advance. Anne Church
    1. I found a copy of this poem in my lady friend’s room at the Seniors Home. After she passed away I put it to music and played it in the home for the other residents. I didn’t know the name of the poem so I called it ” Life Is Gone”. I don’t play it much anymore but I think about it all the time.
  2. This poem sounds exactly like my husband. It started with a small stroke at the base of his neck and he is gradually getting worse. Try not to get upset with some of his actions. We have been married 50 years and this is heartbreaking. Thank you for making this poem available.
  3. This poem is so right on point. Someone sent this to me because my husband had Alzheimer’s. His funeral was today and I read that poem. It is a wonderful poem.
  4. HI – I found Mr. Darnell’s poem on my mother’s refrigerator. My Dad has Alzheimer’s. I am a songwriter and would like to use it for part of a song. I’d like to use his poem for the verses, and myself for one verse, bridge and half the chorus. The first part of the chorus is an A.A. Milne quote. I’d like his permission to perform this and would love to send it to him when I’ve made a recording. Thanks. Melissa Holland
  5. We want to put this on the wall in my husband’s long term care home and need to get permission from the author. I’m hoping you can help me.
  6. I’m a caregiver in Canada and live one of the poems on your website. I believe it’s called “Alzheimer’s Request”. Do you mind if I post it on my facebook page? I’ve worked with seniors for over 40 years now as well as most of my friends. What a great website you have.
    1. Go for it Wendy – And thanks for the great feedback! We’re getting a lot of new visitors from Canada, so please let your friends know about us 🙂

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