dementia caregivers: a poem

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I didn’t want to leave my comfortable life in Dubai to come back to Canada to care for my mom. It was a role I wasn’t trained for, hadn’t expected and was comletely ill-equipped to perform. But, like many care partners, I felt I had no choice. In the end, it became one of the most rewarding things I could have done at that point in my life. The hardest thing, and the best thing. A paradox.

dementia caregivers

This poem is dedicated to dementia care partners everywhere.

©2017 punkie

dementia caregivers

like frogs in a saucepan
they don’t notice the heat
they run round in circles
without skipping a beat

wake up early morning
don’t sleep well at night
cook, clean and cajole
and fight the good fight

few make the choice
they’re drafted instead
into roles that everyone
can’t help but dread

a loved one is helpless
what else can they do?
but dive in the water
despite having the flu

are you my daughter?
where is my friend?
i want to go home
let me out of this pen!

continual questions
impossible pleas
cause dementia caregivers
to fall on their knees

day after day
then year after year
they pray for a break
and then shift into gear

why? you might ask
do they do what they do?
this unending work
which may involve poo!

when you ask you will get
the same answer from many
it’s not for the money
’cause they don’t earn a penny

love is the reason
they give up their lives
for mothers and fathers
and husbands and wives

they couldn’t abandon
someone that they love
anymore than the sun
could stop shining above

then one day comes
when loved ones must go
rescued too fast from
a death that is slow

and so they are left
with hearts full of holes
grieving the loss
of their caregiving roles

©2017 Susan Macaulay. I invite you to share my poetry widely, but please do not reblog or copy and paste my poems into other social media without my permission. Thank you.

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Image copyright: stockbroker / 123RF Stock Photo

1 Comment

  1. Quite beautiful my friend Susan – its 3 days away from the anniversary of losing my mum so has a lot of meaning attached to it during this week for me.
    Additionally, as always, total respect to be given to all caregivers in the month dedicated to them all.
    This month we honor and applaud you. They are faithful and strong and dedicated and brave.
    Caring for another is a true partnership between two people, and each deserve and require equal amounts of support, guidance and understanding. Both in this partnership deserve the best, to in turn give their best.
    Caregiving should never be a sole lonely journey.
    Together, the care partner, the person requiring care and those who care for them, should join as one so that life continues as they all desire and deserve. The miracle of life in all its diversity, isn’t singular nor one way, because we all have the opportunity and the privilege that comes with caring for each other in a way that enhances the experience. This can be the ultimate gift for someone you love. The most precious of all relationships.

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