one caregiver’s offer to hold all others’ hands


hands in a circle

This poem is for Betty, and for the millions of other compassionate care partners worldwide.

reaching out

a poem by punkie

i know you

caregiver sisters

and brothers and

daughters and sons and

husbands and wives who

spill your guts and guilt to

strange others when neighbours

and next of kin don’t get it really

or even at all and we waste

gifted time wondering

why they are blind.

i am exhausted

to the bone for you

and me and the rest of us

who believe we choose

this but no, we must care

because if we don’t who will?

we find ourselves alone

and together in this place

we would never have been

but for some cosmic mistake and

i reach for you and you for me

like the last straws we are for

the loved ones we fear

losing and whom

we want to keep

living and yet

all of us die

one day.

i want to comfort you

as i need to be comforted

but all we can offer today

are encouraging words,

tired hugs and hearts

linked by wishing

it would be over

sooner rather

than later

but not yet.

because when

the ones we love

finally take flight

we are left behind

on the edge of an abyss

purposeless and powerless

to bring them back or

retrieve the stolen

moments that whirl

like eddies in the deep

wake of their departure.

we try to quiet our faulty memories

where we failed to do something or enough

even though we did our best and

then we cry thunderstorms

at this final insult to

what might have

been better if

only we were.

but listen to this lesson

distant sisters, brothers, sons

daughters, wives and husbands:

live each precious moment as if it

were everyone’s last for all things pass

before we do too in the end and each

of us must find ways to lose regret

and rediscover joy to exhale with

final breaths and thus honour

lives we seek to dignify and

people we suffer to love

when we hold hands

now and forever



© Susan Macaulay 2015. I invite you to share the links widely, but please do not reprint or reblog or copy and paste my poems into other social media without my permission. Thank you.

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Image copyright: rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo


  1. Reading this again today, and today it has even more of an impact. I’m exhausted and drained, and I needed to here and feel this… thank you, Amazing Susan, for being such a positive and generous and kind energy in the world. It’s so important to keep the big picture perspective on days when we’re feeling small and diminished…

  2. Hi Susan – This poem is beautiful. May I share a part of it on Facebook? I will provide a link to your post. Let me know!

    • absolutely 🙂 and an easy way to do it is to just click on the Facebook share button on the article, and then taken extract a part and put it in the update part above where the link will appear 🙂

      BTW, I haven’t forgotten about you, you are just buried in my inbox 😛 however, I’ve checked just now and can’t seem to find your number, so I wonder if you would send it to me again? I’m more keen than ever to connect.

      I tried, but can’t find you on Facebook… Maybe you can find me…

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