caregiver

husband
father
provider
papa
great papa
dad
caregiver

for years
he’s been by her side
coffee in the morning
every meal
prepared with pride
keeping track
of all the meds
cleaning and cooking
making the bed
letting go of self
in untold ways
after retirement dreams
placed on the shelf
he tries his best
and without rest
he serves her
he loves her

caregiver
such a lonely place
none will ever know
nor can ever trace
the chores
and trips to the stores
how patiently
he listens
in the bickering
it’s sometimes hard
to keep emotions
in line
still he sighs
and tries to understand
tries to let it go
tries to show
that it’s okay
really
i don’t think
he would want it
any other way
just the other day
he said
“after all she’s done for me i serve her”

real men
like my dad
realize that it’s
not what you have
it’s not what you take
or what you win
or what you gain
it’s losing yourself
to serve another
denying yourself
to comfort another
love is not a word
it’s washing her feet
helping her dress
cleaning the mess
changing the sheets
and all rest
that won’t
fit on this page

some might say
he is a hero
bigger than life
exemplary
extraordinary
and they would be right
but i think in the end
my dad loves his wife
his precious friend
it’s Freddy and Carmen
with love in their hearts
right from the start
they meant it
till death do us part
he’s still serving his bride

still
by
her
side

so much love

i suppose
that when
in your 90’s
that the road
behind you
has more to tell
than the road ahead
and instead of the worry
and the hurry
to get
where you thought
you should be
you listen to
that long long road

i hear my mom
as she walks that road
and stops along the way
she pauses and wonders
what can she say
to give thanks to God
for her family
what can she say
to give thanks to God
for all the love
that surrounded
her journey

in one story
she laments her losses
then as the tears are flowing
a moment comes to the surface
and suddenly she laughs
sorrow harmonizes with joy
laughter sings with tragedy
but still
still gives thanks
and on that road
she remembers
all the gifts
without number
that she has shared
with family
with friends

now she’s tired
her most frequent visitor
is pain
here eyes are dim
but her voice
doesn’t wane
as she skips down that road
picking memories
like a beautiful rose
she holds in her hands
the important things
that somehow
we forget
but she knows
and her wisdom falls
like sweet silver snow
on the hearts
of all who listen
bringing light
and it just glistens
in your soul

she recalls the years
with pride
and with deep lament
she speaks
of her mom and dad
her sisters
her brothers
with thankfulness
carried by her tears
she speaks of their love
so
much
love

there is a power
in her spirit
that pays no attention
to her age
or the sheer exhaustion
of each day
her diminished frame
is a sanctuary
of strength
and lovem

i hope i have passed along
the smallest portion
of her love to my family
for even a fragment
of that love
would fill the world
would flood a soul
would help mend the wounds
we all carry

thank you mom
for speaking truth
for remembering to laugh
for lamenting all the sadness
for all your love
so
much
love

i sang along

i heard some music today
the rhythm section of a little girl
skipping behind her mom

a gentle touch
from a medical sage
as he sang
-  you’re going to be okay -

the pale brown dried hydrangeas
shivering or dancing
to the melody
of this damp winter wind

i heard the horn section
of one member
of the bumper to bumper traffic
play a long steady tone
no doubt the driver
was in the fermata lane
and rules are rules

even the gray sky
somehow drew it’s bow
across the horizon
a deep ostinato
boasting of its power
to tame the light

it’s all music to me
a chaos of simplicity
a pale beauty
a human connection
a reason to dance
when there is no reason
to be found
so

i
sang
along

the sun at matthiessen park

It’s not the cold or the snow that can be difficult in the winter. For me, it’s the lack of sunshine. We seem to have the following four seasons in this part of the Midwest: Cloudy, Spring, Summer and Fall. So, I was so grateful when the clouds took a break and allowed the sun to brighten a recent hike at Matthiessen Park. Hope the sun is shining where you are. Thanks for stopping by.

hey december

hey december
where did you go
did you take
the mistletoe
and what happened
to the eyes all aglow
light and trees
christmas melodies
how quiet
it all seems

well
christmas is only
356 days away
until then
i’ll choose to stay
in the silence
of winter’s embrace
i’ll welcome the stillness
and ponder the grace
that fills my heart
in the quiet start
of this new year
i choose to hear
the voice
of my Father in heaven
the grace
of His presence
the love
of His Son
hey december
it was fun

but living this life
is a serious thing
so i will sing
of His light in me
and remember
i can take december
and bring good cheer
to family near
and friends so far
dear God
thank you
dear God
thank you
for memories
of christmas melodies
and for right now
this day
this moment
for your presence
thank you
God

in the bleak mid-winter

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am? —
If I were a Shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part, —
Yet what I can I give Him, —
Give my heart. 
- Christina Georgina Rossetti

To my WordPress family: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May this season of light and joy be filled with peace for you and yours. May your new year be seasoned with adventure, love and contentment.