by Peggy Trojan. Monee, IL, 2022.
Review by Leona Besimi
Peggy Trojan, through the use of poetry, takes us through the experiences of the before, during, and after she shared with her husband Dave, who suffered from Lewy Body Dementia. In River each poem provokes a different emotion, at times resulting in sympathetic heartache (or empathetic, depending on one’s own experience) at what the realities dementia presents in those around the sufferer as well as for the afflicted individual. Experience with senior living or even caring for a loved one with Alzeihmers may draw readers to derive personal meanings from her poems, as I have. Peggy Trojan uses metaphoric language along with intimate details, adventurous illustrations, and even the mundane facts of healthcare facilities to share her adventures she and Dave experienced.
Trojan, through heartfelt reminiscing, gives an idea to readers of the meaningful life she and her husband shared prior to his diagnoses. By taking us to her husband’s pre-diagnosis period, Peggy Trojan eloquently shares the intimate experiences they shared as a couple in the poem “Partnered”:
Remember when we first shared bed
Now we share gold years and bed,
quiet on our own claimed side
When I sense your body sighing,
Surrendering to sleep sleep,
I slide my foot across the smooth divide
To touch your leg for anchor.
The above poem illustrates the comfort Trojan found in her husband’s presence, even in the simplest occurrences.
The desire to be with her husband did not dissipate when he began exhibiting the features of an illness that unfortunately begins to inadvertently define so many. Instead, Trojan’s desire for togetherness is expressed as follows in “Alone”:
Sometimes, alone at night
When fears spring out from dark,
I speak love for you aloud
In the quiet
The poems of your hands.
And finally, Peggy brings us to the ending of Dave’s life through a touching remembrance. From “River”
Stay on the river now,
Someday I will meet you there
After reading a separate and brief biography on Peggy Trojan, her use of the river in a figurative manner illustrates the sentimental value it had on her marriage. In another interpretation, her use of a river may represent a form of an afterlife and in Peggy’s case she used the opportunity of a setting by personal preference in a metaphorical sense.
Peggy Trojan’s brilliant use of different stages of her marriage and the subsequent years as a widow gives readers a heartfelt and also emotional sense of the life she and Dave created as well as the hardships they faced within their marriage.
Leona Besimi is a senior majoring in History at Carroll University. In her free time, Leona enjoys spending time with loved ones (this includes the residents at the senior living facility she works for), exploring neighborhoods with different architecture, and reading and writing about certain periods in history. She hopes to someday work in either Journalism or for a non-profit in the communications and public relations department.